When Anderson was born, his mother named him Michael Gabriel because he was such an “angel.” He was chubby like a little cherub, though one wouldn’t know that now by looking at the skinny teenager.
Anderson loves competition, especially if it’s physical. Last year he completed the grueling 17.1-mile Imogene Pass Run over Imogene Pass (13,114 feet elevation) from Ouray to Telluride, Colo. He finished in 3 hours, 45 minutes.
Earning the rank of Eagle Scout has helped teach Anderson the importance of setting goals and serving others, he said.
His Eagle project was a very ambitious rehab of a bathhouse at Camp Lo-Mia in Pine. Camp Lo-Mia is a girls’ camp, which is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The project included plumbing, tile, and water damage repair, as well as interior and exterior painting, plus a thorough cleaning. When it was finished the building looked almost new inside and out.
It took 156 man-hours to complete and was made possible with the help of 25 people working over three Saturdays.
Anderson offered special thanks to all those who helped him with the project.
Anderson has ambitious goals for his later life. Earning his Eagle Scout rank has laid a foundation for his further success. His foremost goal after finishing high school is serving as a full-time missionary for his church, after which his plans include earning a college degree and serving as a military pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Since his older sister is a Marine, one can’t help but wonder if there is a little sibling rivalry behind that last goal.
Jed Anthony Ward is the son of Wendy and Curtis Ward of Payson and the grandson of Jed Strigham, who worked for the Boy Scouts of America professionally and Anthony Ward who received the Eagle Scout award in 1955.
As a toddler, Ward was a regular part of the Cub Scout meetings held in his home for years.
As a small 8-year-old, the determined Ward picked up a unicycle and has been riding one wheelers ever since. In the fifth-grade, Ward was selected to play Winthrop in the Payson High School musical “The Music Man.” He played cello at both Julia Randall Elementary School and Rim Country Middle School.
When Ward was 12, his 2-year-old sister, Cassandra, died from a genetic disorder. At 14, he fell 24 feet among rocks, stumps, cactus, and cut saplings. This accident impeded his progress in Scouts.
He wrestled at RCMS; and as a freshman at 103 pounds and he had a dramatic pin in the Tim Van Horn Wrestling Tournament. Ward has played soccer and swam each year on the Town of Payson team. This year, at 6-feet, 3 inches, he played midfield on the varsity soccer team.
Ward has enrolled in art classes each year at Payson High School. He is a talented artist, creating pencil drawings and other works and delights in being on stage for drama, dance and unicycle.
He has fostered his love of animals by being part of the agricultural program at Payson High School. He serves as president of the Payson High School FFA chapter. He has enjoyed attending FFA National Conventions, where he visited Amish farms and ate a meal prepared by Amish women.
Ward participated in a handcart trek and attended a plant and wildlife camp in the Bradshaw Mountains.
A senior at Payson High School, he is enrolled in advanced placement biology, advanced placement English and college algebra. He receives high marks.
He frequents reading and writing clubs and is preparing two book manuscripts, one in a non-fiction work on teenage survival and the other a fictional work. To earn spending cash he works at the Payson pool as a lifeguard and swim lesson instructor.
Every morning before school, he attends religious seminary. Ward said he endeavors to serve God and keep his life clean, a principle emphasized in the Scout program.
He assists his bishop and serves with Spanish speakers and serves on the seminary student committee. His service in church has rotated him among three Scout troops where he has been the recipient of leaders’ watchful care.
He had the opportunity to attend Philmont — a High Adventure Scout Camp hiking and camping through New Mexico mountainous wilderness for two weeks.
For his Eagle leadership project, Ward worked with the U.S. Forest Service and Waste Management of Payson to pick up litter, dump sites and abandoned squatter camps in the forest along Cracker Jack Mine Road near Payson. He utilized Spanish speaking volunteers and students to remove tons of debris.
He has nurtured special relationships within his family, Scout leaders said. He is often the first to complete his chores, with energy remaining to assist his siblings. He treats his parents, seven sisters and younger brother with respect at home.