Eagle project fulfills promise to dying mom

By Beth Edwards

Jeffrey Ishmael celebrated the completion of two major milestones this year. He finished his senior year at Ramona High School and he was honored for his promotion to the rank of Eagle Scout. Both are promises he made to his mother, who died of cancer in early 2008.

Wearing his sash of medals earned in the Scouting program over his Boy Scout uniform, Jeffrey Ishmael stands with his father, Ken. Courtesy photos

Ishmael is the youngest of four children. His two older brothers are Eagle Scouts, and his older sister was a Girl Scout. Scouting has always been a part of Jeffrey’s life, and his family enjoys backpacking, hiking and outdoor activities that naturally tie in with Scouting.

As a Boy Scout, Ishmael earned 25 merit badges and participated in 27 trips, ranging from canoeing the Boundary Waters in Minnesota to hiking down the Grand Canyon — twice. When asked which trip was his favorite, he laughed and asked if he had to pick just one.

“Some of the trips were made special by the people that were there and others were special because of the actual activity,” he explained.

He narrowed it down to the three-week trip to Alaska.

Jeffrey Ishmael’s Eagle Scout project, a 15-foot long walking bridge in the Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary in Lakeside, reopens the sanctuary’s 1.5-mile circuit walking trail.

“The best part of that trip was the uncertainty of how far we would be able to hike before having to set up camp,” he said. “There were a lot of unknowns, and the scenery was beautiful. It was so cold that we had to end the trip early due to a blizzard in the summer!”

One of the special awards Ishmael received is “150 Nights Spent Out of Doors.” For his Eagle project, he planned and managed the replacement of a 15-foot-long pedestrian walking bridge at the Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary in Lakeside. The planning took approximately five months to coordinate.

The original bridge was destroyed during the Cedar wildfire of 2003. The new bridge is constructed entirely of Trex synthetic deck material and is anchored in concrete footings. It required 72 board feet of decking material and took two days to complete, with the help of 15 fellow Scouts and six adult volunteers from Troop 362, including Jeffrey’s father, Ken.

“By constructing this bridge and reopening the 1.5-mile circuit walking trail, the visiting public will benefit through the nature study available at Silverwood,” said Ishmael. “It provides a critical service to the role of the sanctuary.”

It also replaced the Eagle project bridge Jeffrey’s oldest brother, Kenneth, had built to earn his ranking several years earlier.

The 740-acre sanctuary is at 13003 Wildcat Canyon Road, just south of the Barona Reservation. It is part of the San Diego Audubon Society, open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Over two miles of trails are open for hiking and nature study, with Jeffrey’s bridge completing a large portion.

While Ishmael completed his Eagle project in August 2010, as shown on this plaque, his Eagle ceremony was not held until after he graduated from Ramona High School in June.

Both of Ishmael’s accomplishments were celebrated together at the Boy Scouts’ Atherton Hall in Balboa Park.

He dedicated the new bridge to his mother with a plaque that reads, “In Memory of Kristy Ishmael – Mom.”

Related posts:

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  2. Anderson-Parks earns Eagle Scout rank
  3. Eagle Scout
  4. Four brothers earn Eagle Scout rank
  5. VFW honors Eagle Scouts

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Posted by Karen Brainard on Nov 5 2011. Filed under Featured Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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