Lehi Boy Scout builds trail to give kids easier access to school

Ethan Blood, 15, of Lehi, packs down soil as he and volunteers help to complete his Eagle Scout Service Project that aims to create a walkable path connecting nearby neighborhoods to Ignite Entrepreneurship Academy and a future park Wednesday, May 8, 2019, just northwest of the charter school in Lehi, Utah. (Isaac Hale/The Daily Herald via AP)

Lehi, Utah (AP) • At 15 years old, Ethan Blood’s Boy Scout sash sports an impressive number of badges, indicating his achievement with skills like cooking, camping, life-saving techniques and more. Earning all of those badges required time and dedicated effort — but Ethan has taken on more than ever before with his Eagle Scout project.

At first, Ethan thought he would raise a flag pole as a meaningful patriotic gesture. But then, his local church leader, who happens to be Dan Reeves with Perry Homes, offered up another idea: make a trail that would connect a subdivision in Traverse Mountain, Lehi, to the Ignite Entrepreneurship Academy.

Ignite Entrepreneurship Academy, located at 1650 W. Traverse Terrace Dr., is only accessible to kids in nearby neighborhoods who walk or whose parents drive them a mile and a half around to the school entrance. The other option is scaling a 50-foot cliff.

Although Ethan doesn't attend Ignite Academy himself — he attends Skyridge High School — he has three younger siblings who do. He takes pride in knowing his siblings can use the 450-foot trail to get to school safely once it's completed.

"I know that ... they're not going to have to go up and down a cliff, they can use a safe trail to get up and down and not get hurt," he said.

Of course, Ethan couldn't do all this on his own. Beginning last fall, he reached out to various local companies to get materials, tools and labor donated to the project. One of the first important donations of time came from Focus Engineering and Surveying, which supplied seven personnel to survey the proposed trail site, Ethan said. Geneva Rock donated 120 tons of road base to make the trail, and Hadco Construction donated all the heavy equipment, along with the people to operate it.

Several other local companies donated funds for the trail, as well as funds for a bronze plaque Ethan plans to have affixed at the trail head commemorating everyone who donated.

Representatives from both Hadco Construction and Geneva Rock said they get a lot of requests to help out on various projects, but this one stood out to them as particularly special and worthwhile, because they have close ties to the community.

"We actually worked on the Ignite school," Dixon Downs, Hadco Construction operations manager, said. "We had already been doing other work in the area and it's just good to give back and to help the people that we are passing by every day."

Both Downs and Dave Kallas from Geneva Rock said often the hardest thing is to turn down requests for donations and volunteers.

"We have to pick and choose," Kallas said. "But Ethan was real impressive and he was real ambitious in what he wanted to do and very convincing."

Ethan's dad, Garrett Blood, is also proud of and impressed with his son. He said many Eagle Scout projects, while important to the community, end up being simple and easy to do.

"(Ethan's project) required a lot of work and planning and organization on his part to make it happen and come together, and it's something that's going to last decades," Blood said.

And, Blood added, the area is only going to continue to improve — the large dirt area between the trail and the academy is the site of a future park. Even more exciting, however, is the news that Ethan's project is going to be submitted to a competition for the top Eagle Scout projects in the country.

"We found out that just the other day," Blood said. "That's not what (Ethan) was going for at all."

The trail is set to be completed at the end of the week, and a large group of volunteers came out Wednesday to help with the small details, led by Ethan.

“It’s crazy what happened, what we did,” Ethan said. "It was like nothing there, and then now it’s a full-on trail and it’s going to help kids get to school safely.

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