Editor's note: This article was originally submitted as a Letter to the Editor, but seemed to be a story worth setting apart and telling elsewhere in the paper.
I wanted to tell you about a special group of people who recently helped me.
First, I must tell you that in 1992, I was diagnosed with brain tumors. This difficult path was made worse when my two adult sons became ill three years ago. Since then, I have been unable to keep up with the rigors of owning an acre of property in Oxbow Estates.
On April 1, I found a flier hanging on my front gate. One side of the flier explained the extreme fire danger we are facing this year because of the drought. The other side gave some basic evacuation procedures.
I don't have to be reminded that fire is a constant danger in our beautiful area. The Willow Fire came within one mile of my home. I could see the flames and billowing smoke.
I called Fire Marshal Mike Winters to see if someone could help me get my property fire safe, and he referred me to a 14-year-old Boy Scout named Nathan Randau.
The flier distribution was part of Nathan's Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project. Nathan also planned to help a couple of people like me to clean up their yards.
Nathan organized a group of four men -- Cliff Potts, Robert Higginbotham, J.W. Helton and Eric Randau -- to prune trees and chain saw away dead brush on April 22 (Boy Scouts aren't allowed to operate that kind of equipment themselves).
Then seven adults and eight Boy Scouts from Payson Troops 354 and 254 cleared away the trimmings on May 1. They were a hard-working group, and they spent three solid hours cleaning up my property.
Nathan did a wonderful job of organizing and executing the huge tree trimming and yard clean-up effort, in spite of sporting a broken arm the entire time. I could see that he did a fine job of understanding and guiding the other Scouts as they helped in the project.
I want to thank the fire marshal for putting me in touch with Nathan. I also want to thank all of the Scouts and parents who worked so diligently under Nathan's direction. I especially want to thank Nathan for organizing the whole thing and for getting donations of chain saws from Albert Hunt and a chipper from Jerry Floyd, which made the job go quickly and efficiently.
The group also helped an elderly woman in Alpine Village, and Nathan secured a donation of a dumpster from Waste Management for that effort.
Nathan and his co-workers helped me more than they could ever know. It is such a relief to know that my property is safer from fire and much more attractive because of the efforts of so many volunteers.
The goal of Boy Scouts of America is to shape our nation's future leaders by instilling the kinds of positive values that made our nation great. This project was a fine example of those values at work.
I feel blessed to have been the recipient of Nathan's Eagle Scout Leadership Project and to have met so many dedicated people who helped make the project an enormous success.
And for everyone else in the beautiful Payson vicinity, please do what you can to make us all fire safe this summer. Not making your property fire safe could cost someone else his or her property.
Call Town Hall at (928) 474-5242 for information on how to go about it.
To inquire about Boy Scouts, call District Chairman Alex Romberger at (928) 472-7243.