Municipal Spotlight: South Fire Station Spruced up by Eagle Scout Candidate
May 31, 2019 06:00AM
● By Pamela Johnson
Eagle Scout Candidate Bradley DeLuca
written by KEN HAMWEY, Bulletin Staff Writer
Bradley DeLuca may be only 15 years old, but he knows how to get results through hard work, effort and perseverance.
A native of Bellingham who lives with his parents (Jennifer and Joe) on Littletree Lane, the Tri County Vocational freshman was willing to roll up his sleeves and direct a restoration project at the South Bellingham Fire Station that should lead to his becoming an Eagle Scout.
The project involved restoring, upgrading and beautifying the Lyndon F. Murray Memorial that’s located in front of Station No. 1. Murray was the first volunteer firefighter to die in service to his community; he served Bellingham from 1934 to 1964. The memorial was erected by officers and fellow firefighters of Station No. 1.
A Cub Scout for six years and a Boy Scout for five, DeLuca had to complete three steps to earn Eagle Scout status. He has already fulfilled the requirements of Steps 1 and 2; he served in leadership roles for six months in Troop 100, and he’s been awarded 35 merit badges (only 21 are necessary). Step 3 was his last requirement; its objective is to benefit a community. He labeled it “Eagle Scout Station No. 1 Landscaping Project.”
“I had an idea of what I wanted to do,” said DeLuca, whose focus at Tri County is on welding courses. “First, I planned and designed the project; then I solicited funds to get it done. The third phase was getting people and businesses to volunteer time, money and materials. I got Bellingham firms to assist—R. Brien Paving, electrician Gary Remillard, and Greensite Services (excavators). I also got help from other scouts and individual donors.”
The project took six months, from planning to completion, with DeLuca basically working as the project manager.
“What we did was remove the existing wall,” DeLuca noted. “Then we removed topsoil and grass. A new stone wall was built around the monument and we painted railings and the existing flagpole. The area around the monument was covered with crushed stone, decorative plantings were done and I assisted with additional lighting. I participated in a variety of physical activities as I oversaw the project.”
The project, which was completed in late April, got its start when Deputy Fire Chief Mark Poirier approached Town Administrator Denis Fraine about “sprucing up the memorial.” Poirier said Fraine promised to follow up, and in due time Poirier got a call from DeLuca, who accepted the challenge. “It was a team effort with Brad and I collaborating on the design,” Poirier said.
DeLuca said he’s pleased that the project is finished. “It took some time but it was worth it,” he said. “I was humbled to hear so many positive remarks from motorists driving by during the restoration. One person said ‘you’re doing a good job,’ and another said ‘I can’t wait to see it when it’s completed.’ I just want to thank all those who made it possible.”
At Bulletin deadline, DeLuca was awaiting word on whether the project gets a thumbs-up, enabling him to reach the rank of Eagle Scout. To become an Eagle Scout, he has to have five boxes checked. First, the Scoutmaster, in this case Chris Barros of Troop 100, and Poirier have to verify completion of the project. Second, DeLuca has to apply for Eagle Scout status and third, he must compile a detailed workbook on the project. The fourth step involves judgment by a Board of Review and the final step is approval or denial.
DeLuca, who competes at Tri County in golf, lacrosse (formally at Bellingham High) and basketball, is optimistic about his effort and he’s learned some valuable life lessons by following through. “The project was designed to help others and that’s rewarding,” he said. “I learned the value of planning and coordinating and I tried to build character by assuming responsibility.”
Another plus was bringing attention to the memorial and beautifying the surrounding area. “People will now know how important the memorial is to Fire Department employees and residents,” DeLuca said, “and I’m glad we’ve improved the appearance out front.”
DeLuca, who works part-time at the Coachmen’s Lodge, has had previous experience in improving Station No. 1’s appearance. In 2015, he assisted Kyle Manning, another Troop 100 scout who was working on his Eagle Scout Award. Manning fixed the wheelchair ramp (with help from other scouts). He also painted the flag pole and hand rails and planted flowers. He was 17 at the time and is now a sophomore at Westfield State University.
If Bradley DeLuca becomes an Eagle Scout, he will have attained the highest rank for Boy Scouts. When he was a Cub Scout, he met all the requirements to get that organization’s highest award—the Arrow of Light.
When quizzed about who his role models are, his answer was telling. Very telling. “It’s the scouts who came before me,” he said.