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Bull achieves Eagle Scout rank by helping disabled

WEST CHAZY Eighteen-year-old Matthew Bull of West Chazy is one of the elite. Last Sunday, he joined the likes of retired astronaut Neil Armstrong, former President Gerald Ford, and Academy Award-winning film director Steven Spielberg by attaining the highest rank Boy Scouting has to offer the Eagle Award. The road to Eagle Scout is a long one. Of 100 boys that join Scouting, only two will become Eagle Scouts. For Matthew, the journey started at age seven. With mother Sheila Bull as his first leader, he was only one of many boys eager to learn the skills and secrets of the brotherhood of Boy Scouts. As Matthew progressed through the ranks, the number of boys in that brotherhood diminished, perhaps due to the competing distractions of daily life sports, school and other extracurricular activities, not to mention peer pressure. But Mrs. Bull always had faith Matthew would persevere to attain the top rank. According to her, it was Matthews pride, determination, and motivation that got him where he is today. In order to attain the Eagle, Scouts must first move through five ranks: Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life. To advance, Boy Scouts earn merit badges and pass specific tests. One major component of the Eagle rank is completing a service project. In that regard, Matthew knew just what he wanted to do. His best friend, Scott Wolter, was killed in a car crash at age seven. Scotts Memorial Rink, the West Chazy ice arena built in the memories Scott Wolter and Scott House, was therefore a natural choice. According to Matthew, he had become aware several of the hockey players had parents who were in wheelchairs. It was hard for them to see over the boards to see the action on the ice, he explained. When he approached DaleAnn Wolter with his idea to build an elevated viewing platform with wheelchair-accessible ramp, she was thrilled. One of the hockey players fathers is a quadriplegic. He comes in a motorized wheelchair, she explained. Thanks to the adjacent set of bleachers, now families can watch the games together. The project took longer to plan than to build, said Matthew. First it had to pass review by the Eagle Scout board, then plans had to be drawn out and funding secured. Matthew credited troop leader Jeff Chauvin, an employee of Gregory Supply, for helping with the technical aspects. Then, agricultural giant Cargill came through with the project funding. Construction was completed over five days in August so as not to interfere with the regular hockey season. Matthew is currently a freshman at Cornell University studying animal science. He is planning to eventually return as the third generation to operate the family dairy farm, Cha-Liz, in West Chazy. Already he sees what he has learned through Scouting has helped him in his daily life. Its the things you pick up along the way, he said. Eagle Scout shows the right way to act. Theres something about Scouting that enriches your life.

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