TOWNSEND -- By this time next year, visitors to the police station can expect to be greeted by the shining, stoic face of an entirely bronze police officer manning his station by the flag pole. That is, at least, if 17-year-old Andrew Shepherd has anything to say about it.
As a project to become an Eagle Scout -- the pinnacle of a Boy Scout's career -- Shepherd is working closely with Police Chief Erving Marshall to construct a memorial to police officers on the station's front lawn.
"I started looking for a project...and sent letters out to a lot of different people. The chief came back and said he was looking at building a police officer memorial and I said, 'I really like that idea,'" said Shepherd. "I thought it would be the most challenging, (specifically) fundraising."
The arrangement served a double benefit.
"I've always wanted to have a memorial outside here and just never had the funding or opportunity to do it and thought it would be a great opportunity for me and for him to fill his commitment for the project," said Marshall.
The town won't be paying a penny: The funding for the project is being completely supplied by donations through Shepherd's fundraising efforts.
"We try to do whatever we can do in situations like this. Obviously we know there are financial constraints in the community, so whenever we get this type of opportunity we pursue it," said Marshall. "It's quite a large project. He (Shepherd) is an outstanding young
The memorial will be of an officer, approximately 3 feet tall and secured on a 5- to 6-foot pedestal.
"It's probably going to be a little shorter (than originally designed) because the statue is a little expensive," said Shepherd. "The statue is the majority of the project cost, around $8,500."
Since the start of his fundraising efforts at the beginning of this month, Shepherd has raised around $2,000; he estimates the total cost of the project will be $17,121.
"I've been sending out a bunch of letters, going from business to business...telling them about my project...I started on the west side of town and (so far) went all the way to a little past the center," he said.
Shepherd said the granite for the statue was donated by the Townsend Rusk Quarry. He also hopes to incorporate steel from the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks.
"I found a guy in Washington who has a friend -- everyone in Washington has a friend. I told him what I was doing and said I was wondering if I could get an application in," he said. Shepherd said the man wished to maintain his anonymity due to his position.
Shepherd, with support from Marshall and the Board of Selectmen, submitted his application toward the end of May, but he is currently unaware of its status, he said.
"It's been some time and I haven't heard any stories of people obtaining the steel, and they (the government) has publicly announced that the application process is closed, but the guy said he got my application in before it closed," he said. "As more time goes by, it seems less likely, but there's still a chance."
Shepherd only has until April, when he turns 18, to complete the project in order to be eligible for the honor of Eagle Scout. Originally he had hoped to have it finished by the beginning of the school year, but the timeline didn't pan out as he had initially thought.
"I had very little experience in fundraising and doing projects to this scale," said Shepherd.
Still, he's not overly concerned about the April deadline.
"I think I'll have it done by then," he said.
Regardless, the endeavor has been a rewarding experience.
"It definitely helped me figure out who I am and learn more about myself," he said.
Andrew's father Gary Shepherd, for one, is proud of everything his son is accomplishing through this project.
"I think it's tremendous...it's a great opportunity for him," he said.
Shepherd can be contacted directly for those interested in making donations to his cause at 978-602-7608.