Memorial to D-Day Soldiers in Emporia improved by Eagle Scout project

Boy Scouts and volunteers organized by Hunter S. Rae stand Nov. 11, 2017, with the memorial to  D-Day Soldiers in front of the Virginia National Guard readiness center in Emporia, Virginia. Rae brought the group together to improve the memorial for his Eagle Scout project. (Contributed photo)

EMPORIA, Va. – A memorial to D-Day Soldiers located in front of the Virginia National Guard’s readiness center in Emporia received improvements Nov. 11, 2017, as part of an Eagle Scout service project.

A memorial to D-Day Soldiers in front of the Virginia National Guard readiness center in Emporia, Virginia, receives improvements as part of Hunter S. Rae’s Eagle Scout Project. (Contributed photo)

Approximately 16 Scouts and volunteers gathered on Veteran’s Day to improve the memorial at readiness center that serves as the home station the 1710th Transportation Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group. The memorial is in remembrance of the Company M, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division D-Day veterans who served on D-Day. The Scouts and volunteers gathered under the leadership of Hunter S. Rae, who selected the memorial as his Eagle Scout service project.

“I chose this project for many reasons,” said Rae, 17-year-old high school senior who currently holds the Boy Scout Life rank. “The first reason was to give back to my community. I chose to honor a monument that was worth our respect. My dad is a member of the Virginia Army National Guard and served for 29 years.”

According to Rae, the volunteers replaced the wooden landscape timbers that lined the memorial site and replaced the landscaping rocks. The volunteers also removed the debris and weeds around the memorial and trimmed the nearby bushes that lined the front walk way of the armory. The volunteers worked a combined 64 hours to complete the project.

Volunteers work to improve a memorial to D-Day Soldiers in front of the Virginia National Guard readiness center in Emporia, Virginia, as part of Hunter S. Rae’s Eagle Scout Project. (Contributed photo)

According to the Boy Scouts of America web site, a Life Scout must plan, develop and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school or community. This requirement is in addition to demonstrating Scout Spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law, earning a total of 21 merit badges and being active in the troop and holding a position of responsibility. Not only is an Eagle Scout required to identify and complete an application for a service project, but must also raise the funds to complete such project.

Rae completed a fundraiser on Oct. 14, 2017 in which he sold tickets, prepared and served barbecue chicken dinner plates to 145 people. This fundraiser, along with other donations, allowed him to completely fund the memorial service project. Rae completed the service project with $291 remaining. The remaining funds were submitted to the 1710th Transportation Company’s Morale Welfare and Recreation Fund on Nov. 21, 2017.

“Hunter lives out the scout principles every day, said Bobbie B. Rae, Virginia National Guard occupational health nurse and mother of Hunter S. Rae. “My husband and I are so proud to have raised a son that is kind and filled with compassion, but mostly proud because we are able to see that he is a young man that is a man of integrity and respect. Hunter always had a passion for history and this project allowed him to give back to his community in honor of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

A memorial to D-Day Soldiers assigned to Company M, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division sits in front of the Virginia National Guard readiness center in Emporia, Virginia. (Contributed photo)

Rae will graduate June 2018 from Greensville County High School where he intends to seek a Bachelor’s of Science in nursing. Rae ultimately wishes to serve as an emergency room nurse. Rae was recently notified of his acceptance into Radford University as well as the Virginia Commonwealth University. Rae is awaiting notification from James Madison University before making his final decision on which school he will attend.

“My parents taught me the true meaning of respect, honor, loyalty, and integrity,” Rae said. “I could have chosen many other opportunities for my Eagle Scout project, however, I was most passionate about this one. I wanted to show my support to our community, our Soldiers, and our country. Being a scout is about learning to serve others. Through serving others first, I believe that I am able to become a better servant leader.”

Rae anticipates that his Eagle Scout Ceremony will be on Memorial Day 2018.

A memorial to D-Day Soldiers in front of the Virginia National Guard readiness center in Emporia, Virginia, receives landscaping rocks to replace old wooden landscape timbers, and volunteers removed debris and weeds as part of Hunter S. Rae’s Eagle Scout Project. (Contributed photo)