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Monkton Scout earns coveted Eagle designation

MONKTON — With four pressure-treated benches, some recycling bins and a creative scoring system on Bristol’s tennis courts, 16-year-old Justin Kimball recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout and fulfilled a family tradition.
Only about 5 percent of Boy Scouts receive the highest rank, but Justin follows three older brothers in the achievement. Justin’s cousin and grandfather are also Eagle Scouts.
“Justin must have felt some pressure there,” said his father, Guy Kimball, who has taken Justin to Scout meetings since elementary school. “His mother’s father was an Eagle Scout, and she’s the one who really got all the kids into it.”
The rank of Eagle requires a Scout to complete 21 merit badges, and to carry out a community service project and to pass a board of review. Kimball has 26 badges sewn to his sash, he finished the tennis court benches in November, and passed an Eagle review board in December.
A junior at Mount Abraham Union High School, Kimball started on the first of his 26 merit badges when he was in seventh grade, but began Scouting much younger.
“I was in Cub Scouts by (age) six or seven,” Kimball said. He is part of Troop 525 of Monkton, led by Scoutmaster Russ Baker. The troop meets at Monkton Central School and takes trips across the Northeast, including to an annual Jamboree in Gettysburg, Pa.
After years of involvement in Scouting, Kimball last year started his final service project. The tennis court benches are built from pressure-treated lumber and feature attached recycling bins for water bottles. Kimball’s scoring system is mounted on the uprights that hold the net, and use moveable tennis balls in a plastic column.
“I designed this from the player’s perspective,” said Kimball, an avid tennis player. “Bristol used to have a tennis team but the interest has died down. So this is thinking to the future, when more people play here.”
Kimball’s project was funded through donations from the Bristol American Legion, Martin’s Hardware, Greentree Realty, Kevin Brennan Attorney at Law, Bristol Health and Fitness, and Cubbers Restaurant.
Now, though Kimball has topped out on the Scouting achievement scale, he plans to stay involved at least through his 18th birthday. Eagle Scouts who continue to earn merit badges and stay active in their troop can earn additional distinction in the form of Eagle Palms.
Kimball looks forward to helping his troop — Troop 525 of Monkton — with upcoming events including the 250th anniversary parade in Monkton and a bottle drive for St. Ambrose Church in Bristol.
Though Kimball’s Scouting attire is heavy with merit badges and medals, he said that fulfilling his family tradition is the greatest distinction.
“My grandpa was an Eagle Scout, and so are my brothers, and my cousins,” he observed. “I’m the next in line, and I’m honored to follow them.”

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