Nathan Smith’s Eagle Scout project

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Nathan Smith’s Eagle Scout projectWhen Nathan Smith, 16, of Boy Scout Troop 412, started looking around for a community-service need for his Eagle Scout project, he found out the Sierra Desert Gun Club’s gun range on Brown Road needed a wheelchair ramp so one of the club’s members could enter the trailer where classes are held. The member had to be physically carried into the classroom.

So Nathan talked to Bob Gould, longtime club member and officer. Gould designed the ramp and approved Nathan’s taking on management of the project.

“It took about two months to build the ramp,” said Nathan. After it was constructed, the unit was dried out in the sun for about a month before it was painted.

He also undertook a second part of the project —two portable toilets at the gun range needed refurbishment. One required replacement of some fiberglass to secure a ripped-off hinge and refit the door. Both needed painting.

When the ramp was finished, it was compliant with Americans With Disabilities Act requirements. Not only was it wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, it was also equipped with handrails and bumper guards to keep it from slipping off the edge.

Nathan and a team of other Scouts and adult volunteers worked on the ramp from July through September 2012. “I took two months off from the porta-potties project because school started up and my classes took precedence,” said Nathan. He finished the portable toilets by the end of November.

“He did a great job,” said Gould. The dimensions were four feet wide and 23 feet long, with a rise of 31 inches, in order to start at the parking area and reach the door of the trailer. “We let Troop 412 use our gun range quite a bit, under the direction of one of our range masters, Lloyd Plett. The scouts wanted to do something in return.

“We needed to make some changes to become ADA compliant, and they helped with the ramp and the portable toilets. As an Eagle Scout project, Nathan directed operations, with other scouts, parents and adults also working on it. He’s a good kid.”

Gould had a plaque installed on the ramp, to indicate its status as an Eagle Scout project.

While the main project is finished, Nathan still has to finish up one other merit badge needed before he completes requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout.

“I have half a merit badge and five thank-you letters toward it,” he said. “I still have to finish a couple of projects for my Family Life merit badge, and I’m hoping to complete those within a month.”

Nathan attends Burroughs High School, and after graduation plans to attend Cerro Coso Community College for two years to complete basic classes, then on to a university. “I’m aiming for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a major in architecture,” he said.

He is the son of Jerry and Carol Smith of Ridgecrest.

Story First Published: 2013-02-13