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Eagle Scout Completes Bridge at Hidden Pond

Although one of the feeder streams to Hidden Pond isn't as babbling as in years past, it makes Andy Osborn's project of spanning it with a footbridge no easier for his Eagle Scout badge for Boy Scouts.

Putting ramps on each end was the final step. as he and fellow Scouts worked alongside a few parents Saturday, Feb. 23.

"I started planning over a year ago. I made up the plans, they were submitted to a county engineer for approval," he said.

His father, Allan, only helped to a certain extent. He's seen the effects taking on a project of this size has on his 17-year-old son.

"What he's learned mostly is the planning and management skills, and the persistence of staying with it. He's had to interact with a lot of adults and companies," Osborn said.

Allan worked with Hidden Pond park manager Jim Pomeroy to come up with an idea. Pomeroy was one of Andy's county contacts.

"We were able to furnish some of the material, and he had to scrounge some. It took a lot of manpower," Pomeroy said.

Park Authority information specialist Judy Pederson noted the park's appreciation toward the projects. Five to 10 projects go on each year at the county's parks.

"We do enjoy the help that they provide. We're glad to be a resource for them [Scouts]," she said.

Previously there was a bridge over the creek, but it was only 20 feet long and shaky. Together they came up with the bridge project to fulfill Andy’s Eagle badge requirements. Then he went to work. Eight cement pillars anchored into the ground provide solid support for the bridge. These turned out to be the toughest part.

"We had to use an auger and jack hammer to get through the clay," Andy said.

Although Andy is the only one getting an Eagle badge, he's enlisted help from fellow Scouts from Troop 1853 in Springfield, who are getting project experience and community-service hours required for scouting. Other Scouts included James Donlin, Kanyan MacRae, Adam Boltik, Patrick Hannon, Craig Labbe and Brian Young.

James has been involved since they broke ground in November. He lives in the immediate area and remembered the smaller bridge.

"We started building a bridge here in the past, but it was only 20 feet. This one is 40 feet. We needed [community] service points to progress in rank," he said.

Craig is familiar with the surroundings at Hidden Pond as well. He wanted to contribute to the park.

"I've been enjoying this park since kindergarten, I wanted to give back to it," he said.

Although the Fairfax County Park Authority supplied most of the materials, Andy enlisted the help of Sunbelt Rentals, which loaned them the auger and generator, as well as Kramer Equipment Co. for the cement. Some of the other companies Andy got in touch with had contributed for the Sept. 11 disaster and had run out of available supplies.

After the ramps are in place, Andy will submit the plans to the national chapter for review and then receive his badge. He has learned from the whole experience.

"On paper this looks easy, but once you're out here, it's a different story," he said.