Bridging the gaps

As I sought some quiet time to collect my thoughts and commit words to paper in honor of Joshua Fischer and his accomplishment, I realized that the “Eagle Scout Folder” on my desk top was holding a considerable number of these tributes, some going back at least four years.

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Add to those the other Eagle Scout presentations attended by Mr. Frank, Mr. Oehler, Mr. Olsen and all of the Optimists that came before each one of us and you will get a truer sense of just how extraordinary this group of young men in our community really are.

Simply amazing.

It speaks volumes about the strength, the commitment and the character of both the Cub Scout and Boy Scout Troops in our home town. Though still regarded as both a rare and prestigious feat, becoming an Eagle scout in Mequon – Thiensville has become part of our standard.

“Our” normal – so to speak.

It is what we do here. Not so much because we have to.

Rather, because we want to.

We just seem to be built that way.

In addition, the fact that we are celebrating this event in this building – the Mequon Police Station – seems to be a fitting and appropriate gesture to the value and esteem the Boy Scouts place on community service, “doing the right thing” and putting others before themselves.

As an Optimist – the one with the big “O” – I take great pride in the connection we have established with the Boy Scouts in our community.

Boy Scouts have attended and spoken at some of our weekly meetings.

More often than not, Cardinals have been known to become Eagles.

And whether they were projects designed to preserve our local historical sites, replenish and access our treasured natural resources, support a life of learning or create the structural improvements that enhance our community’s quality of life, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to provide both the moral and financial support our Eagle Scouts have needed to help make their projects take flight.

From what I understand, Josh’s Eagle project was no small undertaking.

He planned, organized and executed the building of a 100 foot bridge, to provide a walkway over a swampy area of the Grasslyn Nature Preserve.

In addition to the design work, creating a bill of materials and securing a generator to power the tools, Josh also recruited and organized a large team of volunteers – including members of Troop 865, family, friends and the Mequon Parks Department.

On one level, Joshua and his team blazed us a trail, creating a pathway for greater access to our open spaces for all in our community.

But in another way, Josh’s vision and leadership helped bridge generations and backgrounds. His project brought many together, united in one effort, to benefit the common good, while raising us all up in the process.

Like I said, no small undertaking.

We should be doubly proud of Josh. Not just for the path he and his crew blazed for us. But also for choosing for himself a path that happens to be less taken.

I am sure that he will be the first to admit that his was not always the easiest way, confronted at times by doubt and disappointment.

But in the end, his triumph over these challenges made taking his path – the one less chosen – even more gratifying.

For it is only through this type of effort where one’s character – and purpose – are ultimately revealed.

That being said, on behalf of the Mequon-Thiensville Optimist Club, I would like to present Joshua with a few small tokens of our appreciation.

Not only did he lead the way to build us a bridge, he also helped bridge the distance between all of us as well.

“Thank you” for choosing this path, Joshua.

May the light of your character, leadership and commitment to others shine brightly for all to find, follow and emulate.




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