Matthew Leto spends considerable time hiking the serene trails winding through Otter Creek Park in Meade County, Ky.
Crews have refurbished the park in recent months, adding new signs and new trails. But Leto, a North Hardin High School junior and Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) cadet, saw an opportunity to make access to the popular recreational area easier for those who otherwise might not have it.
So the 17-year-old decided to construct a special path Saturday at Otter Creek's Camp Piomingo measuring 150 yards long and 4 feet wide. The ambitious project serves a dual purpose: help him obtain his Eagle Scout rank and benefit his community.
"The thing that made it most desirable for me is that I am an Army brat, and I am aware of our wounded warriors and the need for accessibility to recreational areas," said Leto, whose father, Thomas, now works as a civilian for the Human Resources Command at Fort Knox. "This project does not benefit the wounded warriors directly, but it does help handicap children who enjoy the outdoors."
Constructing the trail was no easy feat. Matthew Leto, a member of Boy Scout Troop 152 in Rineyville, Ky., amassed considerable resources -- 30 tons of dense-grade aggregate rock, 120 landscaping timbers and a few hundred rebar spikes to pin the logs into place. He coordinated for the delivery of the material, tools.
And help.
Much of the material was donated by businesses such as Lowe's, Home Depot and Vulcan Materials.
Thomas Leto said his son's effort was much-needed. An existing trail used by those with limitations has eroded and is difficult to navigate.
Matthew Leto is a three-year member of North Hardin's JROTC program, where he is active with the school's Raider and rifle teams. He hopes to eventually receive a senior ROTC scholarship to attend college.