By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterApril 6, 2018
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- A Fort Rucker Eagle Scout candidate made the most of his spring break by using his time off from school to improve his community.
Justin Jahnke of Fort Rucker Boy Scout Troop 57 is working toward his Eagle Scout rank, but before he can achieve what only about 4 percent of Scouts attain, he's been putting his work into the community as part of his Eagle Scout project.
Jahnke, with the help of fellow Scouts and parents, worked March 26-31 to replace privacy fences and benches at the Military Spouse Memorial Garden at the main post chapel.
"A lot of this was kind of in disrepair, so I'm hoping that they can use this area for more activities more often now," said the prospective Eagle Scout.
At the beginning of the process, Jahnke had to first find a project to pursue, and with the help of his mother, Leigh, they were able to reach out into the community to see where help might be needed.
They were able to link up with Edwin Janasky, Fort Rucker Directorate of Public Works director, who suggested the main post chapel as a potential project, said Leigh.
Upon contacting the chaplain's office and getting approval for the project on the Fort Rucker side, they needed further approval from the Eagle board, and once they got their approval, the real work began.
Throughout the project, Jahnke and his crew had to first remove all of the old fencing before beginning the restoration process. After the old fences and benches were removed, they were able to begin the process of replacing the old planks, and with the help of his father, Steven, they were able to cut the boards and planks in the proper lengths to be fitted to the fencing area.
Each of the planks had to be positioned in place and then nailed or screwed in, which took hours each day to accomplish. In addition to replacing the fences, the benches had to have their boards replaced, as well.
Although the process was a lesson in hard work and a bit of craftsmanship, the real lesson of the project was more about leadership and working together, said Jahnke.
"It's a lot of fun and (we) have a lot of fun doing these things, but you also learn a lot," he said. "Leadership is the target. I'm learning how to (delegate). I'm learning that if I try to bark orders at people, not a whole lot is going to get done, but if I ask people to do it politely, then they're more likely to do it," adding that being a leader is not about telling people what to do, but getting people to work together to accomplish a goal.
Jahnke first joined the Scouts as a Cub Scout in the first grade, initially just as something to do outside of school and home life.
"When I was a little kid, I just wanted to do something, and being in the Scouts has taught to me to do a lot of things like woodworking and (outdoor survival)," he said.
But as time went on, the lessons became more about leadership and teamwork, he added.
Those lessons are something his mother has become proud of and hopes that he continues to foster in himself as he grows older.
"I hope that he always participates in the Boy Scout programs and continues to be a leader," she said, adding that she's proud that going for Eagle Scout is something that he decided to pursue.
"This teaches him not to be a quitter," said Leigh. "There have been so many people who have said they'd wished they'd gone for their Eagle, and I think that (resonates) with him. He'll get it and I'm proud of him for it."