THE GANG’S ALL HERE — Members of Troop 524 of Springville gathered for a photo, during James P. Oatman’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor. Photos by Michelle Oatman.
SPRINGVILLE — On Jan. 26, an Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony was convened in honor of James P. Oatman. Friends, family and guests, as well as leaders and Boy Scouts of Troop 524 met at the Springville Fire Hall in his honor.
This event was the culmination of 10 years of work toward his rank of Eagle Scout. To be eligible for this rank, Oatman earned 13 required merit badges and 14 elective merit badges; held various troop positions, including senior patrol leader and quartermaster, and conquered a number of other skills, such as life-saving, first aid, personal management and citizenship.
A Scout must complete a Board of Review of his peers and live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law – before reaching the age of 18.
He also needed to plan, develop and give leadership in a pre-approved project supporting the community. For his Eagle project, Oatman built a new 20-foot-by-12-foot shelter on Route 219. This project took almost a year to plan, prepare and raise funds for.
Donations were made by the Springville Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, American Legion Post 431,Veterans of Foreign Wars and VFW Auxiliary, Field & Stream and the Springville Fire Department. There were several other donations from family and friends which allowed Oatman to add three new picnic tables and a gravel base.
When approached by Kiwanis to replace the deteriorating shelters that had been on the site for more than 30 years, Oatman said he chose this project because “the rest stop is one of the first things that people see, while traveling into our area and it also allows travelers and residents to enjoy the scenery or to take a break along the highway.”
SIGN OF THE TIMES — A new sign was recently installed at the shelter on Route 219, to thank the community for its contributions.
The project team consisted of Dennis Dains, Mike Fullington and Jim Jozwiak. They provided their expertise, guidance and time and were instrumental in completing the shelter in one day. Overall, 650 hours were logged since the concept stage and more than 60 people came out to help on the June construction day. Many Boy Scouts and families from Troop 524 showed up, to provide help and support of his project. Erie County Legislator John J. Mills also helped get the shelter approved through the necessary county mandates.
Master of Ceremonies Greg Keyser opened the program and Eagle Larry Padasak recited the candle-lighting ceremony, which was followed by a banquet-style reception. Many Eagle Scouts were in attendance, and all were asked to stand and reaffirm the Scout Principles, led by Joel Maul. Guest speaker Jim Heinrich recounted some incidents that occurred during trips to the 100th Anniversary Jamboree in 2010 at Fort A.P. Hill, Va. and other stories from a 2012 trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. The Rev. Joe Bayne, Buffalo fire chaplin and director of the Franciscan Center, talked about Oatman, delivered a speech and his congratulations.
GIMME SHELTER — Eagle Scout J.P. Oatman installed a shelter and picnic tables, for travelers to take a load off, on their way down Route 219.
The Eagle pin and scarf were presented by Scout Master Jeff Maybray and Eagle Advancement Chair Joe Wolniewicz. Mills delivered a proclamation for Oatman, which was signed by the Legislature. Letters of commendation were also presented by Jim Golabek and Tom Hawkins, representing American Legion Post 431, Springville Mayor Bill Krebs, Town Clerk Darlene Schweikert and Dains, on behalf of United States Congressman Chris Collins.
Oatman then presented a mentor pin to Bob Yaeger and thanked his parents, presenting his mother with a bouquet of roses. The color guard retired the colors and the Rev. William Kay closed the proceedings.
A sign was recently erected at the shelter, thanking the organizations who donated, as well as the community.