Along the Fox River in Oswego, Ill., an eternal flame blazes atop a granite pillar. It honors members of the military who died in the line of service.
When construction began on the memorial, Logan Goodbred thought first of the service members who paid the ultimate price for our country.
But his thoughts soon turned to another group of heroes who also risk their lives every day: police officers and firefighters. Shouldn’t his town have a memorial to fallen first responders, too?
“Combining this with the fact that I know many first responders personally, I thought that this project fit the village of Oswego well,” he says. “It would make a huge impact to families in the community who may have lost a first responder while they were on duty.”
For his Eagle Scout service project, Logan got to work, leading a team of Scouts and volunteers to create a memorial to first responders. The memorial includes a concrete sidewalk leading up to a brick patio surrounded by plants with two life-size bronze sculptures of a fire helmet and police cap.
For his incredible salute to those who paid the ultimate price in service to his community, Logan, a member of Troop 31 of Oswego, Ill., received the 2021 Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams Service Project of the Year Award for the Central Region.
(Why 2021 when the project was completed in May 2020? Adams Award eligibility is determined by when a young person completes their Eagle Scout board of review, not when they completed their project. For the 2021 awards, eligible Eagle Scouts had to have passed their Eagle board of review between Jan. 1, 2020, and Feb. 8, 2021.)
Beyond an impressive addition to his résumé, Logan also receives $500 for his future education or to attend a national or international Scouting event or facility. Logan’s council, the Three Fires Council, also receives $500.
Bryan on Scouting talked to Logan to learn more.
‘One bite at a time’
Logan spent three years on this project — from first coming up with the idea to completion.
Many elements surprised him along the way, including how specific his materials list needed to be. It wasn’t enough to list the materials needed as “bricks, plants and mulch.” He needed to specify the exact types of each.
“I had to hand select everything,” he says. “I had to make sure that everything complemented other parts of the project — all so I could stay true to my intention of having a natural landscape instead of making it look man-made or industrial.”
Logan says there were moments where he questioned whether his project was too big. He had to schedule volunteers, adjust to delivery delays and deal with bad weather — all while still in school and working a part-time job.
“There were days that I felt very unmotivated and wished that I could scrap the project and stop altogether,” he says. “But I knew that I needed to keep going and finish the project in order to commemorate the crucial work of the first responders.”
Logan says his dad served as his chief motivator. Logan’s dad was a Scout but left the program before earning the Eagle Scout Award.
“He regretted not continuing to attain the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout and knew that with my work ethic, I could achieve any project no matter the size,” Logan says. “When I sat down with him to vent, he reminded me of an old saying: ‘The only way to eat an elephant is to eat it one bite at a time.’”
Helping the helpers
To extend the metaphor one step further, you also shouldn’t try to eat an elephant alone.
So Logan delegated, sometimes creating as many as five different crews of Scouts and adult volunteers working on separate tasks. He also assigned each crew a leader — a youth member he could trust to watch over that aspect.
“I had to instruct them how I wanted the project done, and they were responsible for making sure everything went smoothly,” Logan says. “While they led groups, I kept checking in with the groups to make sure that everything was going as planned, and I addressed issues as they popped up.”
Logan says he had to make sure nobody — especially adults — tried to take over the project.
When an adult would start behaving as if they were in charge, “I had to politely intervene, and as the leader, I instructed them on the way I preferred to get it done,” Logan says.
In his three years at work on the project, Logan says he became a better leader, public speaker and even bricklayer.
“These skills are not very well known by many people, especially those in my age group,” he says. “Now I have a better idea how to accomplish similar tasks when I get older.”
While he won’t have to complete another Eagle Scout service project in his life, he does have advice for those younger Scouts contemplating their grand act of service.
His biggest suggestion: start early.
“Because my project entailed many moving parts, I needed a lot of time to plan and fundraise,” he says. “By starting early, I had as much time as I needed before I turned 18.”
He also suggests that Scouts choose a project that has personal significance.
“I have a close relationship with first responders, and I wanted to make sure they were recognized for their service,” Logan says. “By finding something they’re passionate about, Scouts will like the end result of the project better, and they will have greater motivation for completing the project.”
Logan has finished high school and plans to attend the University of Tennessee to study biomedical engineering.
In college, he knows that the leadership skills learned in Scouting will help him work in lab groups to find the best solution to solve problems.
After college, he hopes to use those skills to develop helpful medical devices.
“By using points in the Scout Law, I can help solve issues that people have in the medical world by developing prosthetics, machines or pioneering methods in order to better serve the health of people,” he says.
But until then, he’s enjoyed seeing his memorial in use, serving as a constant reminder of his community’s support of first responders.
“Every now and then as I drive by the memorial, I see people reflecting upon those who have fallen,” he says. “Occasionally while I am at work or around town, I will have someone recognize me and thank me for my role in creating the project. They tell me how great it turned out, and they are thankful for having a way to recognize the community members who make the ultimate sacrifice for the health and safety of the community.”
2021 Eagle Scout Projects of the Year
This post is part of our series spotlighting Eagle Scouts who received the Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award in 2021. Here are the four winners:
2021 Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award recipients
National winner (representing the Northeast Region): Christopher Thomas Adam of the New Birth of Freedom Council, who led a team that designed and constructed an educational exhibit about D-Day, the Normandy landings in World War II
Central Region winner: Logan Goodbred of the Three Fires Council, who led a team that created a memorial for first responders
Southern Region winner: Hannah Kathryn Bailey of the Middle Tennessee Council, who led a team that installed mile markers and informational kiosks along the Collins River
Western Region winner: Mateo David Sabio Paese of the Pacific Skyline Council, who led a team that assembled water filtration systems at 14 different villages in Honduras
How to nominate an Eagle Scout for the Adams Award
If you know an Eagle Scout whose project is worthy of consideration for the Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year award, or ESSPY, please nominate them.
Find a nomination form, judging criteria and more information at this link.
Any Eagle Scout, their parents or any registered BSA volunteer (with the Eagle Scout’s permission) may submit an Eagle Scout service project for consideration. Each council will then nominate one outstanding project to the National Eagle Scout Association.
Support the Eagle Scout Scholarship Fund
Contribute to the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) Scholarship Fund. Donations to this fund go directly to providing scholarships to deserving Eagle Scouts, allowing them to pursue their dreams and make a positive impact on the world.Donate Today