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Potential Eagle Scout assists in teaching fire safety

Friday, October 12, 2007

Staunton Elementary kindergarten children crawled through a smoke tunnel created by Eagle Scout hopeful Andrew Bowman and talked with Posey Township Volunteer firefighters on Friday as part of Fire Safety Week. Bowman attended the event and handed out informational literature for students on behalf of the fire department. Two other cutouts created through Bowman's project were used during the educational presentation. Ivy Jackson Photo
Creating teaching materials for use by the Posey Township Volunteer Fire Department to earn the rank of Eagle Scout was an easy choice for Boy Scout Andrew Bowman, member of local Boy Scout Troop 95.

"Scouting is really important to me and giving back to my community means everything," Bowman, 16, Brazil, said. "I believe it is extremely important to give something back to volunteer firemen because they put their lives on the line each time they go out there to help someone. I wanted to help firefighters help teach children how to be safe. That is very important to me."

Bowman and his 23-member project team made three different cutouts for use during fire prevention talks with children.

On Friday, as part of Fire Safety/Prevention Week, Posey firefighters used the cutouts to teach all grade levels at Staunton Elementary School about fire safety.

The Sparky the Fire Dog cutout allows children to have their picture taken with the fire department's mascot, the "fire house" cutout helps teach children how firefighters use fire hoses and water to put out fires and the smoke tunnel helps children learn how low they have to be to the floor to crawl out of a house fire.

"It is really exciting to see the materials put into use so soon," Bowman said during the presentation by the firefighters. "The cutouts were designed and made to use, fold, store and transport to any event with ease in a limited amount of space."

Bowman said the process of planning, organizing and creating the project started at the beginning of the year and took more than 30 man-hours to complete.

"Doing an Eagle Scout project isn't about getting it done and over with, it is more about the pride you get in working with others to give back to the community," he said about working with fellow troop members and friends during the project. "When it is time to do an Eagle Scout project, everyone respects what that means and does their best to help see it be done, and done right. I had a good group of people to work with. They made it really easy to go from giving instructions to an 11 year old to someone who was 22 years old."

Christine Bowman agreed with her son.

"It was truly amazing to see the project come together and everyone working together," she said. "It was great to see how meticulous everyone worked together and watch them brainstorm about how to make it better so that the project would have the best outcome possible."

The family business, Bowman's ProTurf, Co., donated all the supplies and their backyard was used for the project team to work on the project.

"It was important for our family to do this," Christine said. "Being a part of this, seeing how everyone worked together without any problems, with one common goal in mind was very emotional. We are very proud of Andrew and the team. We just couldn't believe how wonderful it was to see his idea come to fruition."

Bowman is proud of his years as a scout and being elected by his troop to be in the Order of the Arrow. He is planning to continue making community service a big part of his future plans.

"I plan on joining the Navy and then going to college after high school," Bowman said about his future goals. "I'm thinking about becoming a history teacher."

Bowman encourages others to step into leadership roles in the community.

"Just don't get frustrated or discouraged. If you have your heart set on doing something, you will succeed," Bowman said. "I will continue to help other's with their Eagle Scout projects and volunteer in my community. There is such a great feeling of accomplishment when you complete a community service project."

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