Handley spruces up McDonough Park in Eagle Scout project

Austin Handley, 17, shakes hands with Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp at the Court of Honor Ceremony, where he was honored for becoming an Eagle Scout. (Photo Provided)

VIENNA — After watching McDonough Park’s Shelter B fall into disrepair, Austin Handley, a Boy Scout with Troop 20 in Vienna, decided to do something about it.

“I have been going to that park since I was in first grade for Scout meetings, and I felt it needed to be renovated and repaired,” Handley said.

Handley, along with 33 other volunteers, spent over 200 hours since last October to repair Shelter B, build two tables, make a fire pit, an information kiosk and decorate the surrounding area.

“He had an idea that turned into a vision of what the park area could be, and he went for it,” said Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp. “His hardwork will impact this community for years to come.”

According to Handley, the shelter was facing a lot of erosion, so the crew decided to install a French drainage system to help protect it in the future.

The finished version of Shelter B at McDonough Park after Vienna Boy Scout Austin Handley and 33 other volunteers worked over 200 hours to renovate the area. (Photo Provided)

French drains are used to prevent ground and surface water from penetrating or damaging building foundations.

The tables Handley and the other volunteers made are handicap accessible.

“We wanted those in wheelchairs to be able to join others with ease,” he said.

The information kiosk they built doubles as a bat house.

“You don’t see a lot of bat houses in the area, but they need shelter, too,” Handley said.

The finished version of the fire pit at Shelter B in McDonough Park after Vienna Boy Scout Austin Handley and 33 other volunteers worked over 200 hours to improve the area. (Photo Provided)

Handley said the kiosk will hold fliers and information on plants and animals in the area.

The area was given a new coat of paint, and a rock-lined path leading to the 12-feet-by-12-feet fire pit was built.

“I would like to thank everyone who helped by donating time, materials and labor to help with this project in any way,” Handley said.

Although he has learned leadership skills from Scouts his whole life, they were fine-tuned while working on this project, Handley said.

“This was a large project, and it required many different skill sets; leading 33 people to help create a better park for the community definitely honed my leadership skills and helped to better them,” he said.

Handley’s Court of Honor Ceremony, where he was honored with becoming an Eagle Scout, was held May 5.

“To become an Eagle Scout you need 21 merit badges,” Handley said.

He has 36 merit badges along with numerous other badges he has acquired over the years.

“He is an excellent example of what a Scout can be,” Rapp said.


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