Brothers motivate each other to reach Boy Scouts’ top rank

Devin Ward, left, and Derek Ward sit on the steps Devin built for his final Eagle Scout project.

Devin Ward, left, and Derek Ward sit on the steps Devin built for his final Eagle Scout project.

Two brothers from Frenship High School have earned their Eagle Scout rank and will be honored during a Court of Honor ceremony in April.

Derek Ward, 17, and Devin Ward, 14, started Boy Scouts as just a fun activity, but both became more interested in it as time went on. They are the sons of Robert and Vicki Ward.

“It was just something that I thought was fun to do,” said Derek of his earliest days in Boy Scouts. “There were some people that were older Scouts … that I saw get it. I wanted to be like them, and therefore, I decided to get it.”

Derek, a senior at FHS, said he was 12 when he decided to go after the achievement. He finished many of the prerequisites, but then other interests took hold for him.

“Whenever I got to Life, which is the rank right before Eagle … I started getting girlfriends and driving, and I didn’t get the requirements done for a while,” he said.

But a project that he’d researched doing over the years for his final project continued to hold his interest.

“Whenever I was about 15, I was going to do my project on a village in Kenya, Africa,” he said.

He was inspired by hearing about the village, where they lacked school supplies. But after researching how to get supplies there, he said he was disappointed to find out there was no reliable and cost-effective way to get the supplies to their intended destination.

After more research, he found an orphanage in Mexico that also needed school supplies, and found that shipping to the orphanage would be easier.

He corresponded twice with the teacher at the orphanage, he said. The first time, she simply gave him a wish list. After he started a collection drive in September and sent the items to her, she wrote to thank him.

“She said they never expected what they got, and everybody is really grateful,” said Derek. “Now they have about five years of supplies, plus some.”

Derek is currently a senior patrol leader of his Scout troop, and hopes to be involved in a new Boy Scout Venture Crew. He’s also in FHS band and National Honor Society.

He said he and his brother, Devin, did not compete over the Eagle accomplishment.

“It was more like we used each other as motivation to get there,” said Derek.

Devin, a freshman at FHS, said his grandfather, Jerry Stamps, motivated him to attain Eagle Scout.

“He pushed me, because he didn’t make it,” said Devin.

Devin said seeing Derek have fun as a Scout inspired him to join the Boy Scout organization. Their dad was the Scout leader, so Devin got to see what the older Scouts were doing.

“I learned everything twice with his group,” he said.

The campouts, meeting new people, learning new things and having fun are what Devin enjoys about Scouting.

For his final project, he built steps for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students at Crestview Elementary School and Bennett Elementary School. The students can stand on the steps to reach the Standard Action Boards, which are more technologically advanced versions of blackboards, he said.

Making the steps for 13 different classrooms took about 181 hours, said Devin. He put in 40 of those hours and supervised many assistants in finishing the project.

“They were building it, and I was supervising them. I would show them what to do, and they would do it,” he said.

Since his mother is a pre-kindergarten teacher at Bennett Elementary School, Devin said he has been able to see students using his project, and was happy that his work would help schools.

“I was proud of the people that helped me. I was excited to get the project over and to make a difference in the community,” he said.

Devin also plays baseball, and is in the FHS athletics and media programs.

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