With just a few strokes of a paintbrush, the Eagle Scout project of Bruce Solomon Jr. was officially complete.
Solomon, 16, is now one step closer to attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank within the Boy Scouts of America. Young men move through the Scouting ranks by earning merit badges, serving an active leadership role in Scouting, and completing a community service project.
As a junior firefighter with the Diligent Fire Company No. 3 of Jim Thorpe, Solomon knew that he would want his Eagle Scout project to benefit the fire company and borough.
After speaking with his fire chief, he settled on painting the borough's fire hydrants. The town has 94 hydrants, each color-coded in green, orange or blue to indicate the water pressure firefighters can expect from that hydrant.
"The paint was fading on the hydrants and the chief said that they needed to be repainted," said Solomon. "Some of the hydrants had new water lines put in, so we needed to update the tops."
With a project idea in place, Solomon began requesting donations to cover the cost of the project. The borough of Jim Thorpe supplied paint for the hydrants. Area businesses and the Diligent Fire Company No. 3 offered donations to pay for other materials.
He also rallied support from fellow Boy Scouts, family members, and friends. One requirement of the Eagle Scout project is that the Scout must demonstrate leadership skills by organizing and supervising others.
"We had 94 hydrants, and most of them needed more than one coat of paint," he said. "It went a lot faster with the help."
Solomon logged more than 100 hours working on the project, from the initial planning stages and soliciting donations to organizing painting sessions. Over the past month, he worked with volunteers most weekends and Thursday nights on the physical painting and touch-ups.
While only 5 percent of Boy Scouts become Eagle Scouts, Solomon is in good company: the majority of his fellow scouts in Troop 441 have attained this distinguished rank or are actively working toward becoming an Eagle Scout.
"I'm very proud of them," said Troop 441 Scoutmaster John Herbert. "Being an Eagle Scout helps later in life. When people see that you are an Eagle Scout, they know that you've worked for that honor."
Solomon is a junior at Carbon Career and Technical Institute (CCTI) and has been an active member of the Boy Scouts of America for 10 years.
He is also a member of the Order of the Arrow, a Scouting honor society for experienced campers.
He has completed Basic Wildland Firefighter training with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry and is training for forest firefighting.
He is also black belt student at USA Martial Arts in Tamaqua.
Solomon is also a TIMES NEWS carrier in Jim Thorpe.
He is the son of Gail and Bruce Solomon Sr.