Eagle Scout honors Sussex County veterans

| 23 Dec 2013 | 02:10

A senior at High Point High School honored not only himself this past month by earning his Eagle Scout Award, but also honored Sussex-County veterans in the process.

Frankford resident Schuyler Caffrey, 18, constructed an obelisk honoring the school's alumni who served in the U.S. armed forces.

“My sophomore year, I was at High Point for Back-to-School Night,” Caffrey said. “It occurred to me there was nothing in the school honoring alumni in the military. That’s when I got the idea for my Eagle Scout Project.”

Eagle Scout projects are year-long and must be completed before the Boy Scout’s 18th birthday. Caffrey turned 18 on Dec. 20 and was completed Dec. 8.

Caffrey, who has been involved in scouting for 13 years, says it wasn’t until the beginning of his junior year that he got the idea to build an obelisk.

“With my school, I felt it would be fitting,” he said.

First, Caffrey had to present a detailed plan to the Board of Education and to Scoutmaster Ed Blevins of Troop 180. Blevins has been working for the high school for 13 years as a teacher in the Special Education Department and has been Scoutmaster 2½.

“Getting approval from the Board of Education is a time-consuming process,” he said.

“My original concern was that the school wouldn’t approve the project,” Caffrey said. “I was going to need heavy machinery and an excavator, and there is a pipeline that runs along the area I had in mind. However, many board members have actually had family in the military.”

After getting a permit from the borough to excavate land at the high school, Caffrey’s project was approved in early November of 2012.

“Originally, the obelisk was supposed to be dedicated to High Point alumni who went into the military,” Caffrey explains. “People were finding out about the project, and I started getting letters saying things like, ‘My son or daughter went to Vo-Tech, but they were in the military and are from the district. Will the monument be dedicated to them too?’ I then decided to expand the dedication.”

Caffrey decided the monument dedication would read as follows: ‘In honor and recognition of all the graduates of High Point Regional High School & Sussex County who have served in our country’s armed forces.’

Meanwhile, Caffrey solicited to businesses for donations and contacted about 100 High Point alumni who joined the military, asking if their families would be interested in purchasing one of the bricks donated by the Concrete Stone & Tile Corporation in Branchville that were to be laid under the obelisk.

In the end, 45 families purchased a brick.

“For all of the businesses that donated, we gave them their own brick, too,” Caffrey said. “We had 52 total engravings, priced at $20.per engraving.”

Construction of the area began Nov. 9 and lasted a month. Caffrey raised %5,500 from selling bricks for $100 each to military families. He had the bricks engraved by Pierson Landscaping and Excavating, also located in Branchville.

He bought the obelisk for $3,500 from Ferguson Funeral Home in Sussex.

“They sold it to us basically for as much as they paid to have it made, which was very nice,” Caffrey said.

The location of High Point Monument lines up with Caffrey’s obelisk so at night, viewers can see both light up.

“This Eagle Scout Project was the most difficult to construct and get approved than any other I’ve seen so far,” Blevins said. “It was also the most expensive I’ve seen, and definitely the most ambitious. Schuyler did an amazing job, and I am very proud of him.”

Caffrey is one of five Boy Scouts in his troop to earn his Eagle Scout Award this year.

“The faith and generosity of the community members was very heartwarming,” said Caffrey, who 200 hours working on his project.

He plans to continue as a Venture Scout, which he has already been for about a year, and to return to his troop as junior assistant scoutmaster.

“I know I personally would be a different person had I not been a scout,” he said. “I am much more confident in myself because of it, I’ve learned skills I’ll use for the rest of my life, and I’ve gotten experience communicating with people, organizing plans and learning how to be a leader.”