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Local Boy Scout earns highest rank

By Trina Trice

A dream is sometimes just one step closer to reality.

Just ask Jimmy Hyde who has worked on an extensive community service project for the past two weeks in order to achieve the highest honor a 17-year-old Boy Scout can hope for – to become an Eagle Scout.

His effort to become an Eagle Scout began with a dream in which he was washing a wall with a hose.

A trip to the Patrick Henry Track & Field was all it took to inspire Hyde. The track was worn with overgrown vegetation

A talk with members of a church was the catalyst for Christopher White, who achieved Eagle Scout status earlier this year.

The Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which services 13 counties in the metro Atlanta area, approves about 370 eagle scouts a year, said Rich Bauerman of the Atlanta Area Council.

"For every 400 Boy Scouts, only two become Eagle Scouts, so it's quite an honor," Bauerman said.

In order to become an Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service and outdoor skills.

For Hyde, the journey to becoming an Eagle Scout started with gathering $4,000 worth of donations that went toward the renovation of the Patrick Henry Track & Field.

With the help of volunteers, Hyde gave the track a complete makeover, pulling up bushes, pressure washing and repainting walls, laid down sod where necessary, and planted juniper.

Hyde appreciates that his project "helps so many people."

Groups, such as the Henry County police and fire departments and various semi-professional and recreational athletic organizations use the track for training and practice.

"When he first decided to do it, I told him I'd back him up," said Hyde's mother Joni Hyde. "I knew it was out of the ordinary for" an prospective Eagle Scout taking on such a huge project. "I knew statistically most boys drop out before completing this project. He was determined he was going to do it anyway. That was his goal. His dad and granddad were Boy Scouts, but they never made it to Eagle Scout. I'm proud of him."

White's mother Jackie White is proud of her son's accomplishment, too.

For his project, White built four trash receptacles for a local church. White built the receptacles out of wood.

"I thought it was nice," she said. "It was something he came up with. He saw the need for it."

White, who has a mild form of cerebral palsy, never thought of his project as a challenge, saying that it "was time-consuming and took patience."

Earning the honor of Eagle Scout did have special meaning for White, though. He was the first Scout in Troop 963 to ever become an Eagle.

"It's for the good of the African-American community," White said. "Everything I heard from people at the Atlanta Council about Eagle Scouts" was that most were white. "I just wanted everyone to know," especially black Boy Scouts, "that Eagle Scouts are for everybody."