Jan 16, 2013

Cordonnier earns rank of Eagle Scout

VERSAILLES – On Jan. 6, Alex Cordonnier of Boy Scout Troop 79, Versailles, was presented with the Eagle Scout rank, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America. The Court of Honor ceremony was held at the Versailles Fire Department. Alex is the 51st Eagle Scout from Troop 79 since the troop was chartered in 1946 by the Versailles Lions Club. Alex is a senior at Versailles High School and is the son of Steve and Judy Cordonnier.

Alex’s Eagle Scout service project was to build a wooden training wall for the Versailles Fire Department. It allows the firefighters to practice window rescues and escapes in various situations. The wall is durable to withstand heavy use. The project also includes several attachments, such as walls and floors, to practice different drills. It is designed to be easy to disassemble and transport in a pickup truck to other fire departments for their practice. Alex’s project also includes videos on how to set up the wall and how to train on it, which are available on YouTube. The project took over 300 hours to complete and involved assistance from many individuals who gave their time and talents. The Versailles Fire Department fully funded the project.

The benefit of the project is that the fire department can now more easily practice rescue and escape maneuvers. These techniques could be used to save lives. The project also allows the firefighters to train inside when the weather is bad. The attachments expand the uses of the project to include other drills. For example, the Denver Attachment sets up the training wall to be used to practice the Denver Drill. The attachment includes a floor and two walls that limit the space beneath the window to 28 inches across. A victim firefighter, in full gear, lies face down with his head toward the window. Two firefighters must rescue him as quickly as possible before his air runs out, which is difficult to do in such a confined space. The Denver Attachment allows the firefighters to easily practice this important drill.

To earn the Eagle Scout rank, a scout must earn all five of the lower ranks and then must complete several additional requirements. First, he must be active in a leadership position in the troop for at least six months. Next, he must earn at least 21 merit badges. He must demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath and Law in his daily life. He must plan, develop, and lead a service project in the community.

Finally, he must complete a scoutmaster conference and an Eagle Scout Board of Review. The board interviews the candidate and reviews his project and application. The application requires six character references from a parent, religious leader, teacher, employer, and two others. The Board of Review makes the final decision whether he will become an Eagle Scout.

A Versailles Firefighter practices on the wall built by Alex Cordonnier. 

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