Evart scout aims for the top

EVART — “I started two years late, so I had a lot of catching up to do,” is the way Joshua Renne described his pursuit of the highest rank in Boy Scouts, the coveted Eagle.

It has been a four-year path. He hasn’t made the journey alone. In addition to fellow Scouts, his brother, classmates, and friends from throughout the area , the 16-year-old Evart high school senior, has asked “all four sides of my family to be a part. That includes people from all four grandparents sides.”

He didn’t have to beg. They all were more than willing to help, he said.

When Joshua was trying to come up with a project, he said, “I talked to lot of people about this idea and that, but I also asked for input. One man, Josh Proefrock, an Eagle Scout himself, told me, ‘Ya know, that ballfield over by the elementary school? Doesn’t have any dugouts.”

It does about now.

“It wasn’t real simple though,” he explained with a grin. There was a plan for financing them, but that plan fell though. He was up to the task, and so was the community. “I already had half of the money thanks to Ventra, but then when the rest didn’t come through, I let people in the community know that I needed help. They didn’t let me down,” Joshua said.

That wasn’t the only challenge. “We had water lines here where we’re putting in the dugouts that Miss Dig didn’t know about,” he said. “Then one kid cut a wire, and we had to have that fixed. Had to add another day.”

Most of his crew on the day of the interview were football team friends, “and they came to help a brother.” Joshua explained the football players at Evart High “have a brotherhood. We’re like family. We help each other whenever needed. I needed them, and they knew it. They’re here.”

He had 26 family and friends helping one day A dozen another. Even more later.

It was a bit of a struggle in the beginning, Joshua says with a grin, explaining, “We didn’t have any plans. No drawings on how to do all this. That wasn’t very smart. I know it now.”

An uncle offered to come up with a plan. “I can sure say thanks for that, and it’s kind of awkward though at times when you’re telling your friends and your family, like mom and dad, and my uncles and grandpas what to do and how to do it, and if they don’t know and I don’t have a clue, it’s my responsibility to be responsible. Find out. Get it done.”

He said, “Another one of the challenges has been for me to take charge, and make sure everybody knows who’s in charge, and that I need to know what’s going on. Nothing gets changed unless I agree, but I also know if I don’t have a clue, I know I can ask.

“This was just an open field, but now there will be real dugouts that will be available to the community and I think we’ll all be proud of that.” Joshua looked over at his grandpa who was sawing at one end of a dugout, and shook his head. “He’s been here for it all. He’s the first one here and the last one to leave. Man.”

Grandpa. Jerry Comstock of Wyoming. And over there his dad, Robert Renne, clambering up to help with the roof area of one dugout, and back by the fence, his mom, Shandda, and other ladies, helping keep food ready for the crew.

Uncles. Chad Comstock. Jim Flowers. Roger Kushmaul. “They’ve helped so much.”

The dugouts were nearing completion, and so is Joshua’s pathway to the rank of Eagle Scout. “I still have a merit badge to finish in personal management and my board of review, applications and references, but we’re getting closer. Nice thing is, we’re also doing something good for this community too.”

He paused, took a deep breath, and said, “These dugouts will be in memory of my Scoutmaster, Carl King.” Another pause, longer this time, as he gathered the words to tell about the death of his Scoutmaster, “and my friend, Mr. King. I know he would have wanted to be here to help put these up. It honors him as best we can.”

He apologized for not introducing his brother. “He’s not here until second shift today. Man, I’m going to push him to get his Eagle too. He only has two more ranks to go.” And with that, he smiled gently and quietly went back to work.