Sept. 11, 2006

Cokato senior achieves Eagle Scout rank

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Reuben Henderson of Cokato became an Eagle Scout Aug. 6 at a ceremony in St. John’s Educational Center of Cokato.

Henderson, 18, has been a member of the Dassel Cokato Troop 253 since he was in the first grade.

The Dassel Cokato High School senior’s qualifying landscape project for the Eagle Scout honor had to be finished before the ground froze in the fall of 2005, so the timing was critical.

Also, Henderson couldn’t wait until 2006 because an Eagle Scout project must be completed before his 18th birthday, which was April 15.

Fortunately, the weather in the fall was good.

“The timing. It just worked out all well,” said Henderson’s mother, Cindy.

Originally, Henderson was going to remodel the ice rink on Mooers Avenue in Cokato. The City of Cokato, though, had more pressing needs. City council members wanted Henderson to landscape around the water treatment plant instead. They wanted to make it look more attractive and easier to mow around, Henderson said.

Henderson was glad, though, that the city had projects in mind. Cities and parks are the best sources for projects that qualify.

Attaining the level of Eagle Scout is not easy. Applicants must have a minimum of 21 merit badges and 12 of those are from attaining required skills. Only 4 percent of boys scouts ever reach the rank of Eagle Scout.

Henderson started making plans Sept. 28 with Cokato Public Works Supervisor Ken Bakke. They figured they would need river rocks, edging, perennials, shrubs and landscaping fabric.

Henderson said Eagle Scout applicants don’t need to do the actual work, or “even lift a finger” for the project. However, they are responsible for 100 percent of organizing the people who do the work.

Henderson presented the request for funding of the project to the city council Oct. 11. He estimated he would need no more than $2,000. The city had already received quotes from professionals for the same job for $4,000. His was much less than that, but he was still nervous about asking for money.

“Everything kind of depended on that,” Henderson said.

It turned out the project totaled $1,000, an even better price. At the time Henderson approached the council, though, he wanted to make sure there would be enough money to finish the job before the ground froze.

After 112 man hours, Henderson finished Dec. 8. He put in Mortality Irises, Burning Bushes, Dogwood, Flame Grass, Minnie Pearl Day Lilies, Stella Day Lilies, Grapette Day Lilies, Red Flowering Spirea and shrubs called Ace of Diamonds, he said.

Henderson also installed landscaping fabric and river rock. He picked up all the plants, shrubs and materials by van, but the rocks were delivered by the city. The city had already placed fresh sod on the lawn, so Henderson and the workers used wheelbarrows to haul the rocks to the flower beds.

Henderson hasn’t decided yet whether he will go into landscaping, the military or automotive mechanics, what his father, Paul Henderson, does.

If he doesn’t go into the military after high school, he will probably attend a vocational technical college, he said.

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