Scout uses project to build cross for church

Monday, December 30, 2002

COMMERCE, Mo. -- Michael Painton always wanted to put a cross on top of his church's hill in Commerce, even as a kid in Sunday school, his mother says.

He found the way, the blueprints and the means through his Eagle Scout service project.

With his service project completed in October, Painton, 17, achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America earlier this month. Eagle is the highest rank the scouting organization offers and is received by less than 2 percent of Boy Scouts.

"I wanted it just to beautify the church -- bring somebody closer to God or to the church. I wanted something nice for the town," Painton said. "When I joined scouting, I thought, this is the opportunity to do it. I had to have a service project."

Painton is the son of Don and Rhonda Painton of Painton, Mo., and the grandson of Bob and Sonnie Michael of Commerce, and Shirley Painton of Painton. He is a junior at Bell City High School in Bell City, Mo.

Cross 20 feet tall

Through his Eagle Scout project, Painton erected a 20-foot tall cross on the property of St. Paul United Methodist Church, which was built in 1889 and is located at Commerce, the oldest town in Scott County.

Painton was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul. Through the years, he has served as an acolyte, Holy Communion steward and in other capacities within the church.

To achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, Painton had to earn more than 20 merit badges, perform community service, hold a leadership position in his troop, learn Scout skills, earn six prior ranks and complete an Eagle Scout service project. The six ranks of Scout Badge, Tenderfoot Badge, Second Class Badge, First Class Badge, Star Badge and Life Badge make up the "Trail to Eagle," as it is called in the Scouts.

Painton began developing his Eagle Scout project in February of 2000. It was approved later that year by the Eagle Board, the city of Commerce and St. Paul church.

Through his service project, Painton coordinated and participated in clearing and landscaping the designated site; pouring a concrete platform, steps and sidewalks; and lighting the area. He put in more than 100 hours of labor, and obtained the aid of volunteers, who contributed more than 500 hours of labor.

Those providing assistance included S&L Builders and Wormington Lawn Care, both of Scott City. Nearly 1,000 landscaping bricks were donated by Pavestone Inc., also of Scott City.

'Will be a neat place'

"You can see the cross from the river. It is lighted at night," said Rhonda Painton, Michael's mother. "It will be a neat place to have weddings, sit and rest, or meditate.

"You never know what impact something will have on people. This really brought the community together."

Painton's Eagle Scout Court of Honor was held at St. Paul where the invocation and benediction was given by the Rev. Tom Zych, pastor of Advance United Methodist Church.

The candlelit ceremony was called to order by Carla Watt. Painton's brother, Marcus, led the procession of flags conducted by Boy Scout Troop 23 to the front of the sanctuary while the National Anthem played.

An oration about the importance of the Eagle Badge, Trail to Eagle, Scout Oath and Scout Law readings was led by Painton's aunt, Leslie Michael; former Scoutmaster William Reeves; Scoutmaster Sherry Limbaugh; and Assistant Scoutmaster Diane Reeves, while candles were lit by Senior Patrol Leader Kyle Carpenter.

State Rep. Lannie Black of Charleston, Mo., spoke at the event. Hymns were led by John Ramsey and Teresa Jansen, with accompaniment provided by Evelyn McClintock and Johnne Griffin.

Jack Hurt gave the Eagle Scout Charge. Limbaugh then presented Painton with his Eagle badge and certificate. After receiving his rank, Painton gave parent pins to his mother and father, and gifts of appreciation to Limbaugh and William Reeves.

The ceremony was closed with the singing of The Lord's Prayer by Griffin and the procession of flags out of the church. The Court of Honor was videotaped and photographed by Cub Scout Leader Donna Carpenter and Bobby Adams.

A reception was held in the church basement, which was decorated with red and white cloths, and patriotic candle centerpieces. Servers included Sandra Grantham, Cynthia Baker, Lisa Stewart and Donna Jo Hindman. Beth Friedrich was in charge of the head table and cake.

The cross erected through Painton's Eagle Scout Service Project is to be dedicated on March 9 by Bishop Ann B. Sherer, District Superintendent Brent Mustoe and the Rev. Larry Lawman, pastor of St. Paul.

335-6611, extension 133

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