On September 1st, a remarkable outpouring of community support took place in West Union, Ohio. The West Union Lions Club and the West Union 43 Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio generously assisted in the fundraiser. The Spaghetti Dinner event was orchestrated by Eagle Scout candidate, Ryken Copas, as an effort to help fund his Eagle Project.
“I’d like to thank the Masonic Lodge and Lions Club for making this possible, and the community for making it successful,” expressed the enthusiastic Ryken Copas. Indeed, the communal support received by the Scouts speaks volumes about the civic responsibility and collaborative spirit of Adams County.
Ryken’s Eagle Project aims to restore a dilapidated bridge and clear trails in the wetlands area of the Peebles Test Operation, part of GE Aerospace. The wetland area, located within GE Aerospace’s sprawling 7,000-acre facility—the largest jet engine proving grounds in the world—holds historical and ecological significance. During the 1990s, the wetland trails were well-maintained with signposts made by naturalists, six bridges, and scenic overlooks that featured natural beaver dams. This was thanks, in part, to a prior Eagle Scout project by a Peebles Troop. With the passing of time, the trails fell into disrepair, but the new initiative aims to rejuvenate this vital ecological niche.
There were various ways community members contributed to this endeavor. Aside from attending the spaghetti dinner, locals volunteered their time and resources, showcasing how a collective effort can lead to significant impacts. The Masonic Lodge and the Lions Club played pivotal roles, both logistically and financially. Their involvement exemplifies how local organizations can effect meaningful change when aligned with values that benefit the community at large.
The successful fundraiser adds to the list of collaborative projects that have garnered community support in West Union. With the required funds now secured, the Eagle Scout candidate can proceed with the planned restorations. Once completed, the wetlands will not only regain their original beauty but also serve as a living classroom for generations to come.
For the GE Peebles Test Operation and the broader community, the restoration effort symbolizes a renewal of commitment to ecological sustainability and education. It is a testament to what can be achieved when individual initiative is met with communal support. This Eagle Scout project, and its collective investment, underscores the power of localized efforts in effecting widespread, meaningful change.