Student restores a piece of Fall City

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FALL CITY - A couple of slices of pizza in North Bend led to the return of a sign that has greeted visitors entering Fall City from State Route 202 (SR 202) since 1978.

Cody VanWinkle and his family were eating at The Pizza Place more than a year ago when a man approached the family to inquire about a Boy Scout T-shirt that Cody's younger brother Casey was wearing.

As it turned out, that man was Byron Moore, a longtime Valley resident who had made and installed the Valley Heritage sign located along SR 202 in Fall City as his Eagle Scout project. Moore told the family that the sign had blown down recently and that a good Eagle Scout project for Cody might be to build a similar sign.

It seemed like a good idea to the 16-year-old Mount Si High School student, so he moved forward.

The process of making a new sign would take VanWinkle a little more than a year, but this month he drove the sign's two wooden posts about four feet into the ground and secured them with cement to ensure they wouldn't be ravaged in a wind storm or flood.

While building the sign, VanWinkle solicited volunteers to assist him and secured materials and funds from various people in the community.

With the Valley Machine Shop in Fall City helping him carve names and historic dates on the wooden sign, VanWinkle said that part of the process went smoothly, but other unforeseen problems did arise. The biggest problem came when the lacquer, or clear coat, being applied to the wood turned the white lettering yellow. To remove the clear coat, VanWinkle was forced to sand the sign, a process that occurred about five times, he said.

His job at Stevens Family Market in Fall City, school activities such as videotaping plays and life in general seemed to interrupt the project at times, VanWinkle said.

"I [originally] planned on having everything done before high school," said the Troop No. 425 member, who has been a Scout for eight years.

The delays were frustrating, but they didn't detract from the overall project, VanWinkle said.

"It was all worth it in the end," said VanWinkle.

Now VanWinkle just has to wait for a Scout committee to approve his project before he receives his Eagle Scout badge.

As for the future, VanWinkle said he'll continue with his scouting in the older, co-ed Explorer group and hopes to work as a summer camp counselor for the organization.

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