APPLETON - Eagle Scout is the highest rank a Boy Scout can achieve - and it takes a lot of work, but as FOX 11 found out a local scout had his hard work destroyed in an act of vandalism.
Riley Graves has been a Boy Scout since he was eight. Now he's 17 and wants to become an Eagle Scout.
"It means a lot," said Graves of the honor.
But one big step toward that goal has been destroyed.
A pile of logs and leaves is what's left of Graves' required service project after a vandal or vandals got their hands on it.
The project was a 200 hour-plus volunteer-led effort to fix up Woodland Park in Appleton. Graves got the idea when he noticed passersby avoiding the wooded area.
"There'd be trees, branches all kinds of brush," explained Graves.
With permission from the city, Graves and his volunteers worked to make the woods inviting: they widened the path and created a nature trail.
"A nice wood chip trail, maybe even a bench to sit on. Something they could enjoy," explained Graves.
The most difficult part of the project was the bench, which Riley designed to blend in with the area. He used natural materials found right here. Heavy trunks formed the base and skinnier logs formed the back.
And now much of it has been destroyed: no one could sit on the bench and the mulch has been kicked around so much the trail is hard to find.
Graves and his mother are in disbelief.
"I don't understand why they would do this when it was put here for them," said Shannon Graves.
"It's sad to me that somebody doesn't feel good enough about themselves and had to wreck somebody else's work," said Riley Graves.
Graves isn't sure if he'll rebuild, but says he will do whatever it takes to ensure he becomes an Eagle Scout.
"It also means that I didn't give up. Even when things like this happen," said Graves.
Graves told us the Boy Scouts of America will have to decide if he can still get his award.
He also said the Appleton Police Department has filed a report about the vandalism.
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