Eagle Scout project tackles disaster preparedness

Published 12:17 am Sunday, June 28, 2015

Thomas McKeel

Thomas McKeel


A local Boy Scout is working on a service project that will help prepare those less fortunate with much needed supplies during natural disasters. The project is part of a mission to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest attainable rank for a Boy Scout.

Thomas McKeel, a Washington High School student, of Troop 99 in Washington, recently started the project, accumulating supplies for emergency preparedness kits, in the form of buckets, for citizens in local counties who may not be financially able to purchase their own, he said. Asking for donations from area businesses and residents, McKeel is collecting Mylar blankets, bug spray, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, dust masks, latex gloves, small first-aid kits, batteries, toothpaste, flashlights, bottled water, soap, toothbrushes, lighters, work gloves, pens and paper, wet wipes and spray bottles, McKeel said. The items will then be used to issue 500 buckets, which cost $40 each to supply.

In order to obtain the Eagle Scout rank, McKeel is required to obtain 21 badges and demonstrate qualities of leadership and service. Boy Scouts are tasked with planning, organizing, leading and managing a large community service project, which is what facilitated McKeel’s launch of his project. Acquiring the rank of Eagle Scout is something very special and important to McKeel for several reasons, he said.

“Basically, to be an Eagle Scout means that I am basically living up to what my uncle did and living up to my grandpa’s expectations for me, and it’s really important to me to get the rank.”

McKeel said he hopes to give out buckets to citizens in Beaufort, Hyde, Martin, Tyrell and Washington counties. So far, he has raised over $1,500 and has partially stocked almost 150 buckets. However, McKeel needs more supplies and more money to fill the remaining buckets, he said.

“I wanted to help people prepare for natural disasters because I was looking at statistics when Katrina hit, and people weren’t prepared,” McKeel said. “I want people to be prepared when it comes to natural disasters. It’s important to be prepared because if you’re not prepared, there’s a better chance that you aren’t going to make it through the natural disaster that is coming through.”

McKeel has been a member of Troop 99 since 2010 and has served as a staff member at Camp Bodie. He is a member of the National Order of the Arrow, Wiccacon Chapter, Croatan Lodge, the National Honor Society for the Boy Scouts and plans to attend the 100-year anniversary celebration in August. He also will attend the mountain man program at Camp Raven Knob in Mt. Airy in July.

To contribute to the service project, donations can be sent to First United Methodist Church where Troop 99 meets. Send the donation with indication that it is for Thomas McKeel’s Eagle Scout Project. For more information or if you have questions, contact Thomas McKeel directly at tbone01231998@yahoo.com