PJ Hayes has been recognized for earning the rank of Eagle Scout; the highest rank within the Boy Scout program.
The honor ceremony was held Saturday, Nov. 1, at Jorgens Park Preserve in Scandinavia
“My family has a long line of Eagle Scouts in it,” said Hayes. “I wanted to be part of that. I have been in Boy Scouts for about eight years and before that I was in Cub Scouts for about three.”
According to Hayes, to become an Eagle Scout you must have at least 21 merit badges, be active in your troop, achieve all of the other six ranks, live by the scout oath and law and plan, then develop and lead a project that is beneficial to the community.
Hayes’ project involved adding trails to Jorgens Park Preserve.
“I chose to do this project because I always drove past the sign that said soon to be Jorgens Park,” he said. “When I found out that they needed help, I thought it would be the perfect way to help out the community.”
Hayes added about a mile of trail to Jorgens Park by clearing out the brush and boulders.
“The work they did was amazing,” said Dana Rima, Jorgens Park board member. “They put a lot of time and effort into it and got the job done.”
In addition he also cleared the other trials of the brush and sticks that have accumulated on them.
“PJ is also responsible for the walking path leading to Jorgens Park,” said Rima. “Now kids can safely get there without having to walk along the highway.”
A small parking spot on the back entrance to the park was also added and wood chips were spread over parts of the trail.
“I made three benches and six signs that have a map on them as well,” said Hayes.
In total, there were 450 hours put into the project.
The land for the park was once owned by Carsten and Dora Jorgens.
“There is no doubt in my mind that they would think that this is everything that they hoped for their property,” Rima said.
Hayes is a 2014 graduate of Iola-Scandinavia High School and is currently a student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where he is majoring in business administration.
He is the son of Phil and Karen Hayes, of Iola.