Weatherford High School senior and Troop 76 Scout Gavin Knowles completed a bridge at Holland Lake Park for his Eagle project last week.
“There used to be a bridge there that was made out of wood and it rotted and it wasn’t safe so it got torn down or it washed out,” Knowles said about why he chose the bridge for his project. “I wanted something that was going to last longer and be permanent, so I decided to make it out of metal — I have a passion for welding, I’ve been doing it almost three years now.
“I did wood decking that’s treated so whenever it does eventually rot out, all you have to do is replace the wood instead of having to replace the whole bridge, so it’s easier to maintain.”
Knowles began constructing the bridge — which runs between the trailhead and Camp Holland at the park — in February and it was officially completed on March 9.
“I’m very happy with it, it actually turned out a lot better than I thought it would so it exceeded my expectations for sure,” he said. “The project itself was not all me, there’s a lot more help to it — a lot of people that help out behind the scenes that you don’t see. It’s a team effort.”
Boy Scout Troop 76 Assistant Scoutmaster Tom Townsend said Knowles has been a great scout since he joined at the age of 11.
“It’s been an honor to work with him as he gained valuable life skills through scouting,” Townsend said. “Hands-on skills like welding and outdoors training he will use for the rest of his life, but most importantly his respect and leadership that he now exhibits in his daily life.
Townsend added that the bridge project is a great example of Knowles’ hands-on skills and leadership skills.
“I know he is equipped to do well in life as an Eagle Scout,” he said.
Knowles met with the City of Weatherford’s Assistant Director of Parks, Recreation and Special Events Jaycob Kirkpatrick on March 11 to have his project signed off on.
“It turned out very well. He went above and beyond with the quality of the build,” Kirkpatrick said. “We have partnered with the scouts for many projects. They are very beneficial to us as the projects they do always serve a need. They always do an outstanding job and we are very grateful for our partnership with the scouts.”
After he graduates from WHS, Knowles said he will be joining the U.S. Army.
“I’ve wanted to do it since I was 4 or 5 years old,” he said. “So it’s been a lifelong dream for me.”
As for scouts, Knowles said he will be an adult leader at Camp Holland this year before he begins his service in the Army.