VALRICO – When 15-year-old Latour (T) Lafferty of Boy Scout Troop 1986 asked Bob O’Donnell, president of the Lumsden Pointe Homeowners Association, if there was anything he could do for his neighborhood as his Eagle Scout project, O’Donnell knew just the thing — put up an American flag.
“Several years ago at our annual homeowners meeting, someone said it would be a great idea to have a flagpole,” O’Donnell said. “But when I asked who wanted to take on the project, it kind of died on the vines.”
The association paid for the materials, including a light for the top of the pole to illuminate the flag at night. Latour took the assignment “and did a really good job,” said O’Donnell.
Troop 1986 was started in 2010 by the Brandon ‘86 Rotary Club, of which Latour’s father, Latour (LT) Lafferty, is a past president. Lafferty was the first scoutmaster and his son the first charter member.
The troop has since grown to 24 scouts, meets at 7 p.m. Thursdays at First United Methodist Church of Brandon, 120 N. Knights Ave., and is open to additional members. Latour has served as senior troop leader and a mentor to new scouts and is on track to become the troop’s first Eagle Scout.
“Paperwork has to be processed and then he’ll have his Eagle Court of Honor within the year,” said Michelle Lafferty, his mother.
As the Boy Scouts of America organization recommends to its members, prior to starting his Eagle project, Latour “did a community needs assessment,” said his father. “He scouted out possible areas for the flagpole and presented his findings at a homeowners association meeting. Then he arranged, purchased and installed the flagpole according to what the community wanted.”
In addition to the family, friends and fellow scouts who helped Latour with his project, also present at the official flag-raising event in April were Larry Westberry, assistant scoutmaster and past Brandon ‘86 Rotary Club president, Becky Jordan, another past president, Mike Menard, Latour’s Eagle Scout mentor, and Eagle Scout Nick Bodwell, Latour’s Eagle Scout project manager.
Every time Latour leaves home or returns, he sees the fruits of his labor in front of the community’s guardhouse. He said it feels good to know he contributed something lasting that is valued and appreciated by his neighbors.
Latour’s father joined the Brandon ‘86 Rotary Club in 2001 partly because of the club’s history and tradition of service and helping all people, as evidenced by its creation of the Rotary’s All-Person’s Playground and support of Rotary’s Camp Florida in Brandon.
Latour, an eighth-grader at Burns Middle School and recipient of the Burns Citizenship Award, has neurofibromatosis Type 1. The condition has severely affected his speech and presented him with some physical disabilities.
“He does really well,” said his father, “and he is a true credit to what the scouting program can achieve.”
Send news of community interest to Barbara Routen at Barbara.Routen@gmail.com.