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Teen completes Eagle Scout project

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Vance Fort awaits review process, ceremony

By Jeff Bryan

With his 18th birthday rapidly approaching, Vance Fort had a burning desire to complete his coveted Eagle Scout project in time to qualify for the highest honor bestowed by the Boy Scouts of America.
“I rushed it,” said Fort, who finished the project Aug. 12, six days before his Aug. 18 birthday two days ago. “It only took a month from planning to fundraising to finishing.”
Fort admitted to pushing the deadline.
“I’m very proud I got this done, I seem to be a pro at procrastination,” he said, joking there’s no merit badge available in procrastination.
Fort’s Eagle Scout project was designing and building a burn ring area for Dunnellon Community Church. The congregation hosts a weekly prayer fire Thursdays throughout the fall and winter months on its property adjacent to Peach Lutheran Church near the U.S. 41/State Road 40 intersection.
“I figured I could make an organized area, where they could sit and enjoy their time together,” Fort explained. “Most everyone brought camp chairs, so I thought a project could give them an area to come
together.”
The project cost between $4,000 and $5,000 to complete, Fort said. He raised about $1,000 in donations to pay for material while most of the items necessary were donated or sold below costs. Fort credited Magnum Construction Solutions in Ocala and Gunters Farm Feed & Nursery Supplies for contributing a lot of the material necessary for the project or providing discounts. In addition, Bobby Ripple transported the materials and Pavarotti’s Pizza donated lunch for workdays, Fort said.
“They were really great in supporting the project and helping me finish it,” he said.
Now that the project is complete, Fort said he will begin preparing for the Board of Review. That will likely occur in the next two to three weeks, he explained, with the Eagle Scout ceremony afterward.
Fort has spent the past nine years involved with the Boy Scouts of America calling it a great experience.
“A lot of my memories are of my father, Allen, and me going to meetings, camping or fishing,” said Fort, a home school student entering his senior year. “I have a lot of great memories. It’s been great.”
Fort plans to obtain his associate’s degree from the College of Central Florida in Ocala before transferring to Liberty College in Virginia. He plans to pursue a career in aviation, more specifically, that as a pilot.
“I want to fly as a surveyor or forestry pilot,” he said. “Commercial is not my thing. I don’t want to be all over the country, I’d like to stay close to home.”
Fort’s childhood friend, Tanner Bergeron, is in the early stages of his Eagle Scout project and offered his encouragement for him to complete his project prior to his 18th birthday in May.
“I’m very proud of him,” Fort said.