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June 2012
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Boy Scouts renovate Duck House

BY CARRIE DILLARDcdillard@paducahsun.com

The Duck House is done.

This week local Boy Scouts from Troop 4, their families and other volunteers completed renovations on the house, which was removed from Duck Island at Noble Park Lake during a bank stabilization project in late July.

"When I first heard about this, I knew this house was loved by the whole entire community," said Scout Sam Kern, 17, a junior at McCracken County High School.

He and his father, Joe Kern of Kevil, approached the Paducah Parks Department about ideas for Sam's Eagle Scout project. The Eagle Scout rank is the most prestigious for Boy Scouts. Scouts must earn at least 21 merit badges (Sam has 50), demonstrate the Scout spirit through the Boy Scout Oath and Law, and organize and execute an extensive service project, all before the age of 18.

An Eagle Scout project demonstrates leadership as well as community service, said Joe Kern. While Sam helped paint and stucco the house along with his fellow Scouts, he also served as project leader, keeping intricate records of the amount of time, money and number of volunteers needed for the project.

"He's done a great job with pre-planning, planning and getting Scouts and others there to help," said Troop leader Stan Hunt.

"This was a learning experience for all the Scouts," Hunt added, "learning how to do woodworking, roofing and stucco."

The house did not have to be rebuilt, but it was in very bad shape, said Mark Thompson, parks director.

"We gave them an old beat-up house... (now) it looks terrific," he said.

This is not the original Duck House, Joe Kern said, something a lot of people don't realize.

Thompson agreed, stating there have been many Duck Houses over the years.

"I don't know how many Duck Houses there have been, but there have been a few," he said.

The current Duck House is a replica built in 2000, renovated in 2005 and again this year, Thompson said.

Over the last nine days, a total of 34 people, including 20 Scouts, helped renovate the structure.

"The inside was a mess, filled with bird feathers and bird poop," said Joe Kern.

The Scouts from Troop 4 swept and pressure-washed the house, painted, stuccoed and helped re-shingle the roof.

Even Sam's relatives got in on the action. Grandfathers Paul Kern and Tommy Wynn, uncle Tony Kern, and mother Missy Kern all pitched in for the repairs, and a majority of the donations came from family.

Sam raised $350 to renovate the house and came in under budget at $324.83.

"We had no trouble getting volunteers or money for materials," Missy Kern said, "and we had very energetic help from the Scouts."

The house will be reinstalled on Duck Island soon, Thompson said, but no date has been set.

Contact Carrie Dillard, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.

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