By Regina Butler/Pontotoc Progress
Working hard in the sweltering sun has paid off for Makenzie Heard.
A member of Boy Scout Troop No. 20, Heard recently was awarded his Eagle Scout medal, which only 4 percent of all Scouts attain.
In fact, Heard is the first African-American to attain the rank of Eagle Scout in Pontotoc County.
To earn the coveted pin and sash, a Scout must choose a project that will benefit the community as a whole and be willing to commit 100 people hours to complete it. That means the Scout and others together put in a total of 100 hours.
He has pulled vines, sawed, painted and trimmed bushes at the library, turning the outdoor space where people linger into a more pleasant place to sit.
The senior at Pontotoc High School said he thought about the library, and learned some work needed to be done in the patio area where people go to enjoy the outdoors while they read or work on their laptop.
“The bushes were choked with weeds,” Heard said. He also noticed that the bench needed repair.
That was all he needed to see.
From that point he went into action and spent many hot afternoons pulling and cutting.
“Every day after I got out of band, I went to work out here,” said Heard as he looked around the area with pride.
“I pressure-washed the patio and put mulch down after I cut all the weeds out of the bushes.”
And he showed that certain respect that he has been taught in Boy Scouts all these years when he pointed out the large tree suggested to be cut down.
“I couldn’t do that because there is a bird nest in the branches that have come back. We have to respect the life that is there,” he said.
He also painted the back doors where deliveries are made to the library.
Heard started Scouts in kindergarten and worked his way up.
“I knew that I didn’t want to waste all these years in Boy Scouts and not become an Eagle Scout,” he said.
And on Jan. 22, at his home church, Second Baptist Church, he gave that final salute to his Scout Master, Rayburn Mapp.
“I felt proud to know that I’d accomplished what I set out to do,” Heard said.
He looked at his sash filled with badges, “There is the finger painting, riflery, camping, first aid, swimming, recycling, cooking, nature, … but the crown jewel of them all is the Eagle pin.”