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Frazier senior earns Scouting's highest award

| Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, 8:05 p.m.
SUBMITTED Frazier senior Justin Kulwicki stands by his completed Eagle Scout project — a new sign at the Perryopolis baseball and walking track complex.
SUBMITTED Frazier senior Justin Kulwicki (left) gets some help on his Eagle Scout project to replace the sign at the Perryopolis baseball and walking track complex from (from left) fellow Scouts Josh Potter and Russell Potter and his father Jim Kulwicki.
SUBMITTED Family and friends lend a hand to Frazier senior Justin Kulwicki's Eagle Scout project to replace the sign at the Perryopolis baseball and walking track complex. From left are Justin's brother Jimmy Kulwicki, fellow Scout Trevor Gush and Linda Gush.

Don't blink, or you'll miss it.

Until recently, that was a common retort regarding out-of-towners searching for the baseball fields and walking track complex on Knox Street in Perryopolis.

Partially, but more nearly completely obscured by weeds atop mound of dirt, an old, weather-beaten sign, no bigger than a speed limit sign, made it difficult for visitors to locate the complex.

Those visitors would commonly bypass the area, only to locate another resident and present the same query.

“Excuse me, would you direct us to the baseball fields?”

There is no longer any need to worry. A new red-with-white-letters sign, some 8-by-10 feet in size, now makes it virtually impossible to miss come baseball season.

That sign is the culmination of a summerlong Eagle Scout project by Frazier High School senior Justin Kulwicki, who received his Scouting award last month.

“Justin developed the project, assembled all the materials, put it together, and oversaw its construction,” said Brian Evans, Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 625 in Perryopolis. “Justin is quiet and heart of gold. He helps younger kids with Scouting and does all we ask. He is an asset to our troop.”

With only his project necessary for his badge, Kulwicki considered several possibilities but settled on redoing the sign.

“My parents (Jim and Sandy Kulwicki) and I talked about potential projects, and we made a list,” Kulwicki said. “We thought the sign for the fields was a good idea. We thought it would look good and enhance the area, and better serve the community.”

With his decision in hand, Kulwicki approached the town council for approval. Once he had the council's permission, he presented his proposal to Evans, who agreed as well.

To secure materials for the project, Kulwicki approached area businesses, which supported his endeavor. Landscaping paper; wood for the sign, aluminum and plastic lettering, and plants to add an aesthetic appeal to the sign cost in the vicinity of $1,000, Kulwicki said. When the sign was ready to be placed, Kulwicki's Scout troop helped put up the sign and cement it into the ground.

Kulwicki's initiative and enthusiasm were no surprise for his football coach at Frazier, Mike Steeber.

“Justin's work ethic is tremendous,” noted Steeber, who added that Kulwicki was an all-conference and all-county selection at offensive tackle this past season. “His strength is a strength, and his summer conditioning and weight room turned him into a two-way starter as a junior last year at offensive tackle. He worked hard in the offseason, and his defensive play was a big improvement this year.”

In addition to playing football at Frazier, Kulwicki throws the shotput and discus for the Commodores' track team, and is a member of the school's Interact and Foreign Language clubs.

Kulwicki has fond memories of going to Camp Conestoga in Somerset County every year and spending time with Scouting friends, working on Scouting projects and learning about Scouting badges, but his Eagle Scout project holds a special place in his heart.

“When I finished the project, it felt good knowing I did something to help the community,” he said. “Knowing how I've worked to receive the other badges and that this is the end result, it was very satisfying receiving the award.”

But Kulwicki has more than merely community service on his mind.

“When I was a freshman I took a career survey, and the results indicted I would be best suited for the military,” he said. “After graduation I'm planning on becoming a United States Marine.”

Les Harvath is a freelance writer.