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Scout builds soaring memorial to those who stand their ground

Thursday, May 23, 2013726 views

Eagle Scout projects come and go. Most improve the community, but occasionally there’s one that leaves an especially indelible mark.

An Eagle project by Sandy Scout Chris Olsen seems to fit that bill – at least in the eyes of the city council

Chris, 17, erected a veteran’s memorial at Bell Canyon Park, 11400 South 1700 East, along with fellow scouts from troops #197 and # 804. (He is a member of both troops.)

The memorial consists of several columns anchored in the ground and engraved with the names of all the member families of the Armed Forces and their mottos.

The project began in fall 2011 and was recently completed.

In recognition of the extraordinary memorial, Mayor Tom Dolan and the city council passed a resolution May 7 honoring Chris and his peers for the project.

“We see a lot of Scouts doing their Eagle projects; they are terrific and we love them all.  But I can’t think over the last number of years, anyone that has been more memorable, to hit our memories and our hearts as much as this one has done,” Dolan said.

“This is something I think you and your family for years to come, your own children someday, will come back with pride, legitimate pride,” he told Chris.  “With the gratitude of the City, we want to thank you so much for this thoughtful Eagle project.  We just thought it was very special.”

“I always wanted to do something big,” Chris said. “My Scoutmaster Brian Fishburn 197 likes the ones that last, that leave an impression.  He pushed everyone to leave an impression with their project.”

Initially, Chris envisioned a rock garden with a fountain running through it at the park, which he lives close to. But city officials were concerned about safety and the maintenance of the garden.

So he went back to the drawing board and with landscape architect Eric Sanchez came up with the idea to honor the members of the military.

They bought the columns at an extremely reduced cost from American Stone.

Installation was last October and the engraving was done this spring.

The columns, which jut skyward, range in height from about 12 inches to 6 feet.  Buried in two feet of cement, they’re not going anywhere. Just like those they honor.

In the end, Chris was impressed with what they had accomplished.

“I really wasn’t sure how it would come out. I had trouble imagining it,” he said.”The engraving was definitely what made it.”

Chris hopes his project will do as Fishburn had encouraged: leave an impression.

“Just kind of to be another reminder of the beauty of nature and of the sacrifices those in the Armed Forces make for us all of the time,” he said.

Chris is working on the paperwork he needs to submit to get his Eagle. Currently finishing up his junior year at The Waterford School, Christ will be the student body president next year.

“I think Chris’ Eagle project is awesome,” his mother, Velia Olsen, said. “He wanted to do something big, and I think he did it. I love the fact that it was dedicated for the people who have died for our country. That is big. I’m very proud of him.”

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