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Local scouts take heavy steps toward Eagle Scout rank

NATCHEZ — A worldwide pandemic is no match for three aspiring Eagle Scouts.

Tuesday afternoon Jack Russ, Ethan Huff and Chris Johnson were lifting 80-pound slabs of concrete up the steps of the bleachers at the Cathedral football stadium.

The scouts from local Troop 157 were installing the 30 pieces of concrete as part of Russ’ Eagle Scout project.

A community service project is one of the requirements for all Scouts who aspire to the Eagle rank, the highest rank attainable in the Eagle Scout division of the Boy Scouts of America.

A Cathedral student and football player, Russ said he noticed how difficult it was for some people to use the bleachers on the home side of the stadium.

“When I was playing football, I noticed that elderly people and children had trouble getting up the bleachers most of the time,” Russ said. “I noticed if I added another slab between each step, it made it easier to climb the steps.”

Wednesday, Russ enlisted the help of Huff and Johnson to help lift the heavy slabs, which were donated by Great River Industries.

The new steps were installed on the center aisles of the stadium, which have no railings like the aisles on either end of the bleachers, Russ said.

With Russ’ help, Huff and Johnson completed their Eagle Scout projects earlier this year, providing necessary improvements to the baseball and softball fields on Covington Road.

“He helped us do ours, so we are helping him do his,” Johnson said.

Russ had planned to work on his project in March, but was sidelined when the school shutdown after Spring Break.

“I was going to do it earlier, but the virus delayed it,” Russ said.

In the coming days, Russ said he will seal the new concrete steps and paint them white to match the color of the stadium.

The three Cathedral football players have been involved in scouting since elementary school.

All three said scouting has been an important and motivating part of their lives.

“It teaches you how to be a better person,” Russ said. “How to give back to your community.”

Huff said his fellow Scouts had inspired him to stay committed to scouting despite all of the other competing activities in and outside school.

“I have seen what Scouts have taught them, so it just motivated me to stay in,” Huff said.

All three said they hope to soon call themselves Eagle Scouts.

Johnson said Eagle Scouts are highly respected in the community.

“If people see Eagle Scout on your resume, they know you put in a lot of hard work and determination,” Johnson said.

Russ is the son of Chandler and Sarah Russ. Huff is the son of Keith and Angie Huff. Johnson is the son of Valeria Johnson.