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Preston scout 'breaks the bank'

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When Preston Boy Scout and Eagle candidate Christian Norris set up his community service project,

he quickly decided on a course of action.

As part of the qualification for Eagle Scout, a Scout must develop

a project that benefits the community. He is ultimately responsible for

planning the project, setting it up, selling it, and then ensuring the end

result meets its stated goals. In Norris' case, he decided that a canned food

drive for his town's food bank would probably fit the bill.

Thus Norris planned, lined up sponsorships, arranged for several

fellow scouts, friends and family members to assist, and confidently

went into action over the weekend of the Sept. 10 to 12. The goal was

reasonable: 1,000 new canned food items for the Henry Ford Memorial Food

Bank of Preston.

What he and his coworkers ended up with were 1,620 cans of food,

along with an additional $1,420 in cash donations. The food and funds were

collected at several Valley locations.

"It went great," said Norris, the 17-year-old son of Dariel and

Gary Norris. "It was really awesome. We had about 130 total volunteer

hours and it was a great success.

"We received support from Kinko's, which printed the flyers,

and McDonalds and Arby's provided the food for the volunteers."

Food bank chairman Adra Berry was equally enthused, and

expressed her thanks to Norris in two letters.

"I just want to say, `wow!'" wrote Berry. "What a wonderful food

drive. It is really appreciated as you - who have worked with us over the years

- know how low our supplies were.

"The ones who come each Thursday will be blessed with all the

variety of food you collected. You did a fantastic job, Chris, and all the

Scouts who helped and friends and especially your family. Thank them for all

their support and counting and sorting and tagging and cleaning up. We

couldn't have had it all done otherwise so well."

Norris, who is currently chaplain's aid with Troop 557 in Redmond and

a member of First Presbyterian Church of Everett, will now go before a

Board of Review to learn if he has qualified for the coveted Eagle rank.

Then comes another challenge.

"I'm leaving for Michigan for a three year Air-Land Emergency

Response Team - or ALERT - course," he commented last week. "It's

sponsored through the Advanced Training Institute International.

"I'll train as a firefighter and emergency medical first responder.

Later I'll qualify in diving and as a private pilot."

While he hates to leave home, Norris will depart with the

knowledge that he made a solid contribution to his community and his neighbors,

as befitting a candidate Eagle Scout.

"I enjoyed doing it," he stated. "The planning was tough, but it

paid off. It was cool."

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