Farragut junior Richard Dunleavy was honored Feb. 8 with his advancement to Eagle Scout, with St. Petersburg Troop 340 honoring him with an Eagle Scout Court of Honor, a feat that is achieved by a little less than one percent of all Boy Scouts.
Richard completed his Eagle Scout project, which must be finished by the age of 18, in January in conjunction with the City of Madeira Beach. He organized his troop and the community of Madeira Beach to insert a salt marsh nursery for spartina alterniflora at the Madeira Beach 9/11 Memorial, which sits on a portion of Causeway Park.
“I was inspired by the spartina nursery our Marine Science program has in association with Tampa Bay Watch, but I wanted to have a larger community involved,” said Richard, who joined the Boy Scouts soon after completing the third grade. “There were a lot of long nights and a lot of coffee involved in this undertaking and I owe a lot of gratitude to so many different people.”
While Richard enlisted the assistance of everyone from the City of Madeira Beach, mayor and city council members to managers of the stores who donated supplies to his scout compatriots to a “whole slew of family members and friends,” the Farragut student was the project manager from start to finish — which ended up lasting approximately one year, or 400 hours, to be exact.
“It took creativity, communication and cooperation between many different individuals to get this done,” Richard said. “I searched for cities and contacted different ones that would be interested in taking the project. Madeira Beach was very enthusiastic with having that piece of the park renovated. I cleared the section of the park, right by the gazebo of the memorial, then leveled the land, putting the frame timbers in and securing them. Next, we punched our own well, constructing the pond itself. Then, we reshaped the landscaping, added some more mulching throughout the park, inserted some weed killer tarps and finally, inserted some new benches and placed a new sign at the entrance explaining the purpose and benefit of the nursery.”
Richard sought out and received assistance from Lowe’s Home Improvement, Home Depot, Larson & Son Landscape Supply, and Pentair, which included supplies and cash donations.
“The help I received was incredible,” Richard said. “Without their participation, none of this would have transpired the way it did. There were probably around 50 people that actually worked on the project itself, but there were close to 100 people involved with the entirety of it from planning to logistics to certification to implementation.”
Because the project consumed much of his life over the past year, Richard admitted he was saddened that he was not able to participate in some of the activities he had grown fond of at Farragut, including wrestling, cross country and track.
“I hope to get back into those sports for my senior year,” said Richard, who often volunteers to feed the homeless and work at animal shelters.
While Richard still has one year left to finish at Farragut, he has his sights set on the United States Naval Academy.
“My goal is to become a commissioned officer on an engineering degree and then become a Navy Seal,” Richard said.