Eagle Scout honors firefighters

In November 2010, 16-year-old Zach Orchard was trying to come up with an idea for an Eagle Scout project.

He finally decided on an Eagle Scout project — one that would honor firefighters and his father.

“I was bouncing around options and I thought about my dad being a firefighter,” Orchard said. “I think what they do is amazing.”

From that point the choice was easy.

Orchard spearheaded a project to build a memorial to Wapakoneta firefighters. The project was completed in August and was dedicated during a ceremony Sept. 11 in remembrance of 9/11 attacks.

Eagle Scout may be earned by a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout who has been a Life Scout for at least six months, earns a minimum of 21 merit badges, demonstrates Scout Spirit, and demonstrates leadership in the troop, team, crew or ship.

He must plan, develop, and lead a service project that demonstrates both leadership and a commitment to duty. He must then take part in a Scoutmaster conference.

After all requirements are met, he must complete an Eagle Scout board of review. He can complete the board of review after his 18th birthday as long as all other requirements are completed before his 18th birthday.

Orchard now holds the honor that is given to only 2 percent of all scouts.

“Firefighters are there for us and they deserve to be honored,” Orchard said.

Orchard led the project right from acquiring the proper permits to build the memorial right up to laying the bricks. Many of the Wapakoneta firefighters helped serve as

mentors for the project. Orchard said he was happy with how It turned out.

“I thought the final product looked very good,” Orchard said.

The memorial reads “In honor of firefighters serving the city of Wapakoneta past, present and future and can be seen on the lawn at the fire department.” Orchard said he believes the memorial will become more and more noticed as time goes on.

“I think it will become more relevant as people see it,” Orchard said.

Orchard, a junior at Wapakoneta High School, plans to attend Bowling Green State University and study visual communications technology. He wants to be a film student and administer lighting and filming of presentations, much like he currently does for the Singsation choir at the school.

It took him 11 months to finish the project.

He said he plans to return home after he graduates from college and work in the area until he lands employment somewhere.