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Greenfield Eagle Scout completes project for vets

GREENFIELD — Jared Andrew joined scouting because a friend asked him to, and he stayed with it the past eight years because, he quips, his mother wouldn’t let him quit.

Last Saturday, Andrew became an Eagle Scout, the highest rank a young man can reach in scouting with Boy Scouts of America.

“It was worth it,” said the 16-year-old Franklin County Technical School sophomore.

Andrew earned all 21 of the badges he needed to become an Eagle Scout, including the last one, which he achieved after completing a service project.

Andrew collected DVDs and DVD players for veterans who had returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan, needing to recover and rehabilitate from their injuries.

“My goal was to collect 1,000 DVDs,” said Andrew. “I ended up with 1,276 DVDs, 10 personal DVD players and three VHS players.”

Andrew collected them at several locations and then donated them to local veterans facilities, which gave them to veterans.

He started as a Cub Scout (Bear) when he was 8 years old and worked his way up, said his mother, Nancy Andrew.

“In he beginning, it was just something for me to do,” he said.

“He went on some fantastic trips,” said his mother. “He got to go to Washington, D.C., and he slept on a battleship in Battleship Cove in Fall River. He celebrated his 13th birthday at the Statue of Liberty.”

A member of Greenfield Troop 16, Andrew said his worst experience was last summer, when he went to Rotary Camp with his troop.

“I had to be taken out by ambulance because I was having a severe asthma attack at 10 o’clock at night,” said the dark-haired, 5-foot-2-inch-tall teen with hazel-colored eyes.

Nancy Andrew is also raising her 9-year-old grandson Jordan, who has joined as a Cub Scout and looks to his mentor and uncle, Jared, for Scouting and other types of advice.

“There were times when I wanted to quit, but Mom wouldn’t let me,” said Andrew. “She pushed me through all of this, and I’m glad she did, most of the time.”

He said his Scouting experiences have helped him grow to become a better person.

Andrew said the experience has helped him become a leader, and he hopes that will get him a job when he graduates from high school with a degree in machine technology.

He stood before his friends, family and troop on Saturday, thanking those who made his journey possible and telling them what it all means to him, he said.

“I pushed him because I wanted him to understand about goals and commitment and I’m glad I did,” said his mother. “I knew he could do it.”

Nancy Andrew spent most of last week making dozens of Swedish meatballs for the celebration, scheduled for after the Eagle Scout ceremony.

Andrew, who has two sisters and a brother, is also a junior assistant Scout master. He likes to watch television, hang out with his girlfriend, play cards, do recreational sports in the summer, and he likes to draw.

Andrew has earned a total of 39 merit badges over the last eight years.

He said he chose a military-themed service project because from the time he was a young child, he wanted to serve his country.

“I can’t because of my asthma,” he said. “But, my grandfather and uncle served. My grandfather earned the Purple Heart for his service in World War II. I’ve always had great respect for people serving in the military. I just wanted to help some.”

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