While Newton Senior High School student Sean Healy’s downtown community garden was completed with the help of the Jasper County Conservation Board back in April, it was just recently that he received the accolades that prompted the project in the first place.
Healy was formally honored as an Eagle Scout by Troop 354 at a Court of Honor last month, becoming the third of three brothers to earn the distinction. While Sean’s brothers Tom and Mike — who earned their Eagle badges in 2002 and 2006, respectively — influenced Sean’s drive to attain the highest rank bestowed upon a scout, he explained that his determination was personal as well.
“I always knew that I would try my hardest to get my Eagle,” Healy said. “I certainly looked up to my brothers, but it was always a goal of mine as well.”
Healy’s Eagle Scout project consisted of building three garden beds in the space adjacent to the County Annex Building in order to build and sustain community gardens.
“When I started looking for a project, I wanted to do something with conservation, and we batted around ideas, and we came up with this one,” Healy said. “I’m pretty mechanically inclined, so I liked the idea of it.”
Although maintenance of the gardens has since been granted to the conservation board in addition to members of the community, Healy remains involved in scouting — this time, as a leader.
“[My involvement] has definitely changed because I went to every meeting I could go to every Sunday,” he said. “I’m an adult leader now, and it’s a big change from doing everything to supervising.”
In addition to the Healy boys’ contributions and commitment to the local troop, their mother, Cindy, has been an integral part of Troop 354 for more than 20 years.
“Tom brought the flier home from school, and [my husband] Bryan actually went to scouting night for sign-ups, but then it became my duty,” she said with a laugh. “But we soon found that it was a great program and a way to develop young men and leaders.”
Cindy began working with Cub Scouts, but moved up the ranks as Sean, her youngest son, advanced through the program. To Sean, her constant guidance within scouting through the years has been invaluable.
“The person in my family that has been the most instrumental and helpful and a role model in scouts is my mother,” Sean said. “She’s always been there for me, keeping me in line.”
In addition to Sean, Tom and Mike, Cindy noted that three of the boys’ cousins have reached the Eagle rank as well, for a total of six within the family. It’s this kind of family dedication that allows Troop 354 to continually graduate quality scouts — something both Cindy and Sean can attest to.
“Troop 354 has graduated an enormous number [of Eagle Scouts],” Cindy said. “The troop is very supportive of the boys — if they have the desire to earn an Eagle badge, they will help them get to that point.”
“We have one of the highest number of boy scouts, definitely in Iowa and the Midwest ... and that’s because we’re very, very involved, we have good attendance and we don’t let boys slack off, we make them work,” Sean added. “We have a very good troop, and I’m proud.”
While Sean will join his older brothers in enlisting in the Army following graduation from Newton Senior High School this spring, Cindy plans on continuing her work within the troop in a somewhat less outdoorsy way.
“I’m a part of the troop committee now, so there’s less camping for me at this point,” she said with a laugh. “Now that I’m a bit older, that’s okay.”
Nicole Wiegand can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 422 or via email at email@example.com.