110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
posted Nov 21, 2012 - 8:55:00am
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office was feeling very thankful Tuesday — just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday — for a hardworking Boy Scout who did something special for the K-9 unit.
When deputies and their canine partners train at their facility in DeLand, the dogs are put through their paces using a variety of special obstacles. However, the wooden structures were aging after years of use and constant exposure to Florida weather.
That provided an opportunity for 14-year-old Kaj Eckhardt to take on a tough but rewarding project as he worked to attain the coveted status of Eagle Scout.
Eckhardt started exactly one year ago in November 2011. With assistance from his family, his adult leaders and the other members of Scout Troop 804, Eckhardt worked his way through the project one step at a time.
He researched the required specifications for each of the 14 structures he was going to build. Next came the fundraising. Several businesses and individuals contributed money or supplies. But, whenever funds fell short, the teen raised the money himself by doing odd jobs such as mowing grass and painting. The grand total raised and earned was about $2,370.
When it was time for construction, Eckhardt had to plan, design and supervise with the help of his fellow Scouts. The new structures were put into place at the training facility Nov. 14. After a few finishing touches with paint and tools, the yearlong project had finally come to an end.
The first K-9 training session with the new equipment was Nov. 20, with an excited Eckhardt on hand to watch along with his family and fellow Scouts.
Eckhardt hasn’t been awarded Eagle Scout yet, though. He still needs to make a presentation about his project and have his work reviewed. But, he earned high praise from Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson: “Kaj has done a fantastic job that I can’t say enough about. This is a true project and not just something to fill time. It was something that was needed. It saved the taxpayers money; he went out and got donations for all the material and did the work himself. It’s very professional and we’re very proud of you.”
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