If there's a community service project waiting to be done in Tolland, the person to call is Tolland High School senior and Eagle Scout Arthur Jacques.
Jacques, who was recently honored at a town council meeting for his work repainting nearly one hundred fire hydrants in town, has had a significant, positive impact on Tolland, despite not yet graduating high school.
"I've learned a lot through my projects," Jacques said. Over the years, he has organized the electronic recycling drives that have collected and safely disposed of 120,000 pounds of waste, repaired and donated 163 bicycles to children in need through Little Angels, built bluebird houses, repaired the Weigold dam, and much more.
The latest in his line of community service projects includes clearing brush and invasive species from the Campbell Peaceful Valley Farm area. Jacques said that he walked the open space property with Conservation Corps leader Ken Hankinson after last year's damaging storms to see the large amount of work that had to be done.
He rallied his peers in Boy Scout Troop 61 and Venture Crew 422, and together they cleared a third of a mile of a hiking trail and an acre and a half of brush.
But as the work was done, Jacques and Hankinson noticed that invasive species such as barberry and autumn olive were crowding the area. Never one to back down from work, Jacques simply added the task to the project, clearing an acre and a half of the plants.
"I think his projects have helped him, and at the same time, helped the community," said Arthur's father, Donald Jacques.
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The father and son combined forces to repaint 97 of the town's fire hydrants, clearing brush and mending chains as needed. Donald Jacques said that Arthur picked up the project after another member left the troop. Not wanting to leave the fire department with the work undone, Arthur and Donald drove around Tolland for several weekends to make sure the job was completed.
"I was very happy when the town recognized him for the work that he did," Donald said of the proclamation. "I don't think kids always get recognized for the work that they do."
And while there is no denying that Arthur Jacques has helped Tolland out immensely, his father said that his work has also positively influenced his son. His work in the boy scouts helped Jacques decide that he will pursue environmental engineering in college next year.
"The boy scouts have opened up a lot of doors in different areas for him," his father said.
See Arthur Jacques at work in the photo gallery above.
Want to help out? The next electronic recycling event is scheduled for Oct. 20 at Tolland Middle School.