In all, he and his team of assistants spent a collective 600 hours gathering, sorting and installing the material. It paid off. Last month, Benjamin received his Eagle Scout medal, Scouting’s highest honor. To earn Eagle status, a scout must first earn a minimum of 21 merit badges, plus organize and successfully carry out a community project that benefits a local nonprofit organization. Benjamin earned a total of 26 merit badges, including badges in astronomy and cycling, two of his favorite pastimes. At his Eagle Court of Honor, where he was presented the Eagle medal, Whittier City Manager Steve Helvey and Councilman Joe Vinatierri were on hand to congratulate him. “The job of an Eagle Scout is to help younger scouts be where we are right now,” Benjamin said. Benjamin, who has been in scouting since he was 6 years old, said his experiences as a Boy Scout were valuable life lessons that will stick with him into adulthood. He wants to attend Northern Arizona University, where he would like to major in business management. Someday, he said, he would like to open his own motorcycle shop. WHITTIER – For his Eagle Scout project, Benjamin Andrew Dugan set out to help the elderly residents of the Michigan Park area of Whittier. But the result was “way more” than he ever expected, the 15-year-old said. “It was only supposed to be videos at first,” Benjamin said, “but the project kept growing and growing.” In all, Benjamin, with help from other Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and scout leaders he recruited, collected more than 3,500 items, including video and DVD movies, music CDs, audio books and cassettes. Then the team distributed them to the Parnell Park Senior Center, the Intercommunity Blind Center, the local Salvation Army’s transitional living center, the Women’s and Children’s Crisis Shelter, and the Whittier Senior Center, where Benjamin and his helpers built oak cabinets to house a new media library. “I can tell the difference when I walk around school – who is a Boy Scout and who is not a Boy Scout. They are usually the first ones to help when something comes up,” he said. Benjamin believes he is carrying on a family tradition; his father and brother were Boy Scouts. “I don’t think he had a choice,” said his mother, Sherry Dugan, only half-jokingly. “In our house being a Boy Scout is just something we do.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!