Hawthorn Woods 13-year-old closing in on Eagle Scout
Hawthown Woods 13-year-old CJ Byrd enjoys the finished product: New benches at the village's aquatic center. Byrd is on pace to earn the rank of Eagle Scout as a 13-year-old. | Photo courtesy Dennis Byrd
Updated: December 30, 2012 6:20AM
HAWTHORN WOODS — While some may drag their feet when it comes to community service, 13-year-old CJ Byrd said he finds great joy in giving back to his home town.
The Middle School South eighth-grader recently completed a two-phase Eagle Scout project benefitting the Village of Hawthorn Woods. Byrd led a team of 11 volunteers, transplanting more than 200 plants from the aquatic center to 14 of the village’s cul-de-sac islands. The second phase had the team installing four stone benches at the aquatic center for children to sit on after their day’s activities.
Prior to the bench installation, children sat on the curb outside the center as they waited for their parents to pick them up. This was a safety hazard that village officials felt needed to be addressed, and Byrd stepped up to help fix it.
“It was great to be able to help the village out, and I feel a great sense of accomplishment after spending so much time planning the project ... to finally get out there and complete it,” Byrd said.
Byrd explained that he learned of the need when he was at a village meeting to earn a merit badge. When Byrd sent his own list of project ideas over to the staff, both parties began working on the plan to improve the appearance of the cul-de-sacs, and the safety of the aquatic center.
Byrd, who currently is at the rank of Life Scout in Troop 388 of the Northeast Illinois Council, is on pace to advance to Eagle Scout in a few months.
Q: How long have you lived in Hawthorn Woods?
A: I’ve lived here my whole life.
Q: How many children are in your family?
A: I’m an only child.
Q: What do you like about Hawthorn Woods?
A: I like the area we live in because of its sense of seclusion and beautiful woods that change colors in the fall.
Q: What is your favorite community event?
A: I really like the garage sale day that they have in Hawthorn Woods because of all the interesting finds.
Q: What’s your favorite place to eat around town?
A: Fritzl’s in Lake Zurich — it’s a German family restaurant. I really like the food there and the value is pretty good for the amount of food you get. Usually, the wiener schnitzel is hanging over the plate.
Q: What inspired you to do this project for the village?
A: I wanted to help out in our area with things that our village really needed done
Q: What initially got you interested in community service?
A: I wanted to be equivalent to my dad in this area (he’s been doing this for about 30 years)
Q: What are your future career goals?
A: Once I go through college and get a job, I would like to be an engineer — most likely a chemical engineer, but generally, an engineer. My dad and I believe that our country needs engineers to keep us moving forward.
Q: What are your future volunteering goals?
A: I plan to help our troop with adopt-a-highway. We’ve adopted a small stretch of highway that we clean up every spring and winter, so I plan to help out with that.
Q: What is your proudest moment or greatest achievement?
A: Mainly, it’s the project and how far I’ve advanced this quickly in the scouts. I believe that is a great achievement for me, personally; being able to accomplish the stuff that some adults or 18 year olds may have trouble getting themselves to do.
Q: What are you reading?
A: I’m very eager to read a book for class called “All Quiet on the Western Front,” detailing a German soldier’s trouble blending with society during World War I. I’m also reconsidering reading “The Hobbit” again in preparation for potentially seeing the movie.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: I would have to say that my favorite movie is “Lord of the Rings,” which kind of goes along with getting ready to see “The Hobbit.” In general, I like the whole series, but the third is my favorite in particular.
Q: What kind of music do you usually listen to?
A: I usually listen to country music.
Q: What is your favorite vacation destination?
A: My family and I have being going to the Cayman Islands every year since I was young, except when the island was hit with a hurricane a few years ago.
Q: Are you a winter or summer person?
A: I like the winter. I like the snow on the trees and the evergreens, I think it makes the area look really nice.
Q: What is your favorite Chicago sports team?
A: The cubs. I’m still hoping after one hundred-and-something years they’ll win the World Series.