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Wise investment for Eagle promotes fitness

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By Katie Hogin

Avid joggers frequenting the trail winding around Watts Bar Lake in Kingston may have noticed
some recent additions at the foot of Fort Southwest Point.

Coordinating with both the Tennessee Valley Authority and Kingston Parks and Recreation Department, Chip Wise of Boy Scout Troop 101 has struck a formidable effort to earn the rank of Eagle Scout by constructing three exercise stations along the walking trail.

While treading the pavement, fitness enthusiasts now have a chance to incorporate stretching, push-ups and pull-ups into their walking or jogging routine.

“So many people are already walking and running on this trail that it’s a bonus for people that do want to do the little exercises,” Wise said.

TVA donated $2,000 to fund Eagle Scout projects, which will also allow future Eagle Scouts to incorporate more exercise stations along the trail.

“The whole idea is to add a little bit of utility, so not only are they running ... they can do their push-ups and their pull-ups and their stretching and hopefully more cool things in the future,” Wise said.

The Roane County High School senior joined the Boy Scouts when he was 15 and decided to do an Eagle Scout project a year ago.

The rank of Eagle Scout has to be attained by one’s 18th birthday, and since Wise turns 18 in about a month, he was in a hurry.

Only recently did he start looking for an Eagle Scout project to do, due to the fact the project can’t be done until reaching the rank of Life Scout.

Wise was about to look elsewhere when TVA officials announced at a meeting their desire to donate money toward Eagle Scout projects.

Since the city was already looking to construct work-out stations, Parks and Recreation director Rick Ross coordinated with Wise to put the plan into action.

“I jumped on that,” Wise said. “It’s really hard to get funding for things, and if it all falls out of the air, why not take it, right?”

The timing was ideal for all parties involved.

“The city wanted this, and I had the money, and I needed an Eagle project,” Wise added.

“He was organized; he was planned,” Ross said. “He was great to work with.”

Wise said that it was all a matter of specifically working with both Ross and TVA to effectively communicate what and how the project would be accomplished.

 Wise isn’t the first Scout to coordinate with the city for service projects.

Seth Deason landscaped three flowerbeds at 58 Landing a couple of months ago, and John Richmond helped construct rustic wooden bleachers behind the Fort Southwest Point Visitors Center.

Once an Eagle Scout himself, Ross enjoys the nostalgia of working with them.

“It’s been great to kind of relive my scout days through them,” he said.

The project was completed over the course of two weekends earlier this month, with around 23 people helping Dec. 4 and about eight offering assistance on Dec. 11.

“Funny thing is,” Wise recalled, “the day I put this up, there was a guy up at the visitors center up at the fort, and he was leaning against one of the posts and doing all sorts of stretches, and I was like, ‘Oh, we just put up a bar down there for stretching,’ and he was like, ‘Oh, I’ll have to try that out next time,’ so it must be useful.”

Only one-third of the donated money has so far been used to construct the three stations and will continue to fund more service projects.

The troop will use that to reimburse the city for materials for each project until they run out of money

“I really like the idea that a couple of more Eagles could get their project out of the way with this,” Wise said.

After having an interview in which leaders access everything he’s already done, Wise should know whether his efforts for Eagle rank have paid off.

“This is the big thing to getting Eagle,” he said. “I’m really glad to have this done. I really appreciate all the help everybody’s given me.”

Wise’s hope of studying nursing plays an important part in his concern for the general public’s health.

“I think that as far as the project goes, I think it’s good for the community, and that makes me feel good, you know? ... It’s less expensive than a gym.”