Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Eagle Scout's project honors fallen soldier

Patrick Prior’s Eagle Scout project is a shelter at the C.W. Bill Young Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. With him are his dad, David Prior, left, and the Revs. Thomas Dieter and Francis Dionne.

AMANDA STARLING | Times

Patrick Prior’s Eagle Scout project is a shelter at the C.W. Bill Young Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. With him are his dad, David Prior, left, and the Revs. Thomas Dieter and Francis Dionne.

ST. PETERSBURG — Clad in badges and khakis, Scouts from Troop 236 pledged to the flag and the memory of Col. William Wood at the memorial constructed over weeks of labor.

Patrick Prior, 15, knew he needed to complete a service project to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. The Osceola Fundamental High School student searched for inspiration from his grandfather and settled on a covered structure with seating to accommodate the putting green and shuffleboard courts at C.W. Bill Young Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

"It's what an Eagle project is all about, improving society," Patrick said when the day finally came. "The veterans here, they deserve it. … It's one of the most important things in Scouting."

There was no need for fundraising from the moment Patrick announced his plans. Family, friends and veterans who caught word of his project donated more than $3,500. Patrick counts himself lucky to have a large family and friend base to contribute to costs throughout construction. Their contributions led him to earn the Eagle Scout designation on Feb. 10.

It was halfway through the project that David Prior suggested to his son that the project be a memorial. Wood studied at Florida State University with Prior and participated in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps. Prior joined the Reserves while Wood continued to climb military ranks until earning the title of colonel in Iraq. He was killed by a roadside improvised explosive device shortly after promotion. Wood left behind a wife and teenage daughter.

"Col. Wood was a very squared-away guy," Prior said. "The Scout motto is: 'Be prepared.' Colonel was that, he lived that."

The troop turned its weekends over to the project, more than 395 cataloged hours. The wood posts weighed 300 pounds, but there were enough hands to help raise them, including Russell DeBerry, a 20-year carpentry expert.

"I just like helping the Scouts," DeBerry said. "Providing the tools and the knowledge to do it. It helps to teach them safety, responsibility. Once you start a job, you have to finish it."

Service projects for Scouts are usually simpler, according to Boy Scouts coordinator Candice Nyarkoh. Flower beds, benches, and birdhouses are the most common service projects.

"What is really amazing is that they dedicated it to a fallen soldier," said Nyarkoh of the 90-year-old troop. "This is a legacy for them. Not only have they been one of the longest troops in this area, but they've also done something to memorialize somebody like that."

Half an hour after the family left for the memorial dedication ceremony, a letter from Nanci Wood, the colonel's widow, appeared in David Prior's email inbox.

"My daughter Rachel and I are deeply touched that this shelter is dedicated in Bill's memory," Wood wrote. "It is our hope that it will provide a place of peace and rest for our wounded heroes and their families."

Eagle Scout's project honors fallen soldier 02/21/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 21, 2014 4:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'We were lucky': Zephyrhills, Dade City get back to normal after Irma

    Hurricanes

    Two weeks after Hurricane Irma struck Florida, residents and city officials in eastern Pasco — hit harder than other areas of the county — are moving forward to regain normalcy.

    Edward F. Wood, 70, tugs at a branch to unload a pile of debris he and his wife picked up in their neighborhood, Lakeview in the Hills in Dade City.
  2. After Hurricane Irma, many ask: How safe are shelters?

    News

    NAPLES — Residents of the Naples Estates mobile home park beamed and cheered when President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott strolled amid piles of shredded aluminum three days after Hurricane Irma to buck up residents and hail the work of emergency responders. But almost nobody had anything good to say about …

    The Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area opened its doors to anyone seeking temporary shelter during Hurricane Irma. Evacuees were housed in the Istaba multipurpose building and was quickly at capacity housing over 500 people. [Saturday, September 9, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  3. What you need to know for Thursday, Sept. 21

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today

    Aaron Richardson Jr. talks to voices in his head at his father's bail bond business in St. Petersburg July 22, 2017. Richardson has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was arrested for carjacking in 2011. He was declared incompetent to stand trial and moved between Florida State Hospital and Broward County Jail. While in custody he lost both his sight and hearing. He was released to his family in 2014 without an explanation. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   TIMES]
  4. When elders are in peril, who do you call — 911 or Rick Scott's cell?

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Twelve hours after Irma blasted through South Florida, conditions at Larkin Community Hospital in Hollywood were miserable.

    Police surround the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, which had no air conditioning after Hurricane Irma knocked out power, on Sept. 13 in Hollywood. So far, nine deaths have been blamed on the incedent. [John McCall | South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
  5. As spice incidents decline, Clearwater consultant suggests more coordinated services for street homeless

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — The actual number of homeless people living in downtown streets and parks is not growing, as it has appeared to some city officials and business owners over the past five months, a hired consultant concluded this week.

    Members of the homeless population wait in line before they are fed a meal near the Clearwater Police Department headquarters in June.  EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times