BY BRANDY TEMPLETON
Statesville’s Martin Luther King Jr. Park has some new improvements thanks to Parker Rufty and his friends and supporters.
The Statesville High School senior recently donated his time to improving the park. He planted 12 azalea bushes, four flowering dogwood trees, and placed two bike racks at the park as part of his Eagle Scout project.
To earn the rank of Eagle Scout, scouts must invest 100 hours in the project, which must be approved by scout leaders, after completing the requirements for all other badges.
With a big smile, Rufty talked about the project.
“I put over 200 hours into this project,” Rufty said.
The hardest part of all those hours was planning everything.
“Figuring it out, asking what to do, who will help was the hardest part,” Rufty said. “Once it all was planned everything went smoothly.”
The first part was planning a yard sale to earn money to fund his project. He also reached out on social media for help. People from surrounding counties, Winston-Salem, Indian Trail, and even some from South Carolina volunteered items to help his cause.
TVs, toys, clothing, and a lawn mower we’re just a few of the many items that were donated.
“We only sold half of the stuff, but we raised $2,300,” he said. “We donated most of it to Special Treasures.”
All proceeds went to pay for the bike racks as well as the plants and trees purchased at Bell Landscape Supply.
Friends and fellow Boy Scouts came together to help Rufty with the manual labor at the park. They dug up overgrown plants and moved a wooden sign.
“It took us three days to do it,” he said.
For the next month, Rufty came back and watered his plants and trees. The Statesville Recreation & Parks staff will maintain them going forward.
Rufty is proud of the accomplishment and helping make the area a little nicer.
“It taught me a lot of leadership skills and to manage people doing tasks,” Rufty said.
Even though he has aged out of the Boy Scouts, he is thankful for the many friends and memories he’s made
“Boy Scouts teaches you really important skills, you make lifelong friends, meet really cool people, and have really cool experiences,” he said.
For now, he’s keeping himself busy working in Randy Marion’s Parts Department. After graduation from Statesville High next spring, he hopes to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at UNC-Charlotte, N.C. State University, or UNC-Asheville.