Signs of progress

 

Max Miller

Milo Hunter stands in front of the new Shively Field sign he created as part of his Eagle Scout project.

It wasn't just the cold that Milo Hunter had to battle. Hunter also confronted shifting project parameters, budget constraints, petty vandalism and even the treacherous Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) permitting process for signage. None of it was sufficient to stop the resolute Eagle Scout to-be.

Hunter made a pair of signs for Saratoga's Shively Field Airport, installing the signs in late March to complete the project one day before his eighteenth birthday. Boy Scout regulations require that Eagle Scout projects must be completed before a scout's eighteenth birthday in order to qualify the scout to be an Eagle. According to Scouting Magazine, only two percent of boys who participate in scouting ever become Eagles, the organization's highest rank.

"I would've liked a little more time but you can't keep mother nature from freezing the ground," Hunter said of the tight timeline.

Hunter first envisioned the project in fall of 2014. He described the old sign as "a dinky piece of plywood painted white with blue letters," and knew he could do better.

Dave Worthington, who was then Hunter's scoutmaster, originally suggested the creation of the sign. Worthington would assist the teen throughout the process of consulting the airport board, acquiring the materials and even digging the post holes on Hunter's last day as a 17 year old.


Hunter also had significant help from Zane Michelson, who achieved the rank of Eagle Scout himself a few years ago. Michelson was also present to help with the signs' installation, as were John Lasco and two other volunteers from the Saratoga streets and roads department. The department also provided some heavy equipment to aid in the digging of the post holes.

Before shovels could strike soil, Hunter had to work his way through the regulatory process. The Boy Scout first gained permission to move forward from the airport board, then, when he realized that the sign would be standing on highway land, he had to apply for the proper permits through WYDOT.

By the time the proper authorization had been granted and the project materials arrived, it was fall of 2015. The ground froze before Hunter could get the signs planted, so he spent the winter "babysitting" the placards, in his words.

One final obstacle presented itself while the signs were on display at Saratoga High School. Unknown vandals defaced the surface, so Hunter had to do some last-minute restoration to get the signs ready to go. Luckily, the weather cooperated, and the scout was able to get his project completed in the nick of time.

Some paperwork remains, but Hunter should be celebrating with a Court of Honor the Friday before graduation ceremony at the high school. The young man will be joining the Air Force after he completes his studies, but says that he wishes to stay active with area scouts whenever his schedule will allow.

 

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