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Andy Canady, top left, directs fellow Boy Scouts on a four-month renovation of MacArthur Esplanade at Sasebo Naval Base. The 16-year-old high school sophomore became the first Eagle Scout from Sasebo in 12 years when earned the highest Boy Scout honor at the end of March.

Andy Canady, top left, directs fellow Boy Scouts on a four-month renovation of MacArthur Esplanade at Sasebo Naval Base. The 16-year-old high school sophomore became the first Eagle Scout from Sasebo in 12 years when earned the highest Boy Scout honor at the end of March. (Courtesy Photo / Kate Canady)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — It’s not every day there’s a new Eagle Scout in Sasebo.

In fact, nobody had achieved the Boy Scout top rank in the past 12 years — until Andy Canady made the grade.

Canady, a high school sophomore, joined the elite group last month, according to the base’s Boy Scout Troop 76.

Sasebo produced its first Eagle Scout, William Rivers Jr., in 1960. Since then only 14 Scouts have followed in his footsteps, the troop said.

There are Boy Scout troops across the Far East, including mainland Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines. Overall, only about 5 percent of Scouts reach the pinnacle of scouting, according to the Boy Scouts of America national council.

Troop leader Scott Poluhowich said the required tasks can be daunting, including public service projects that can consume hundreds of hours of planning and labor.

"Not only is it meeting the requirements, but there is a certain maturity level that has to come with the award," said Poluhowich, who oversees 20 scouts.

First, scouts must rise through the Star and Life ranks by assuming increasing amounts of responsibility within the troop. Meanwhile, a Boy Scout has to earn 21 merit badges, each signifying mastery of a skill, to qualify for the top rank.

But the required public service project can be the most difficult portion of the testing. Canady chose to renovate MacArthur Esplanade, a memorial and sitting area across from the Community Education Center along the base’s main thoroughfare, Poluhowich said.

Poluhowich said Canady was a little unsure he would be able to tackle the needed repairs.

"[The esplanade] was a little rundown and wasn’t visible from the road," Poluhowich said.

Canady said the public works department alerted him to the need for upgrades to the esplanade and the project appealed to him.

"I wanted to do something that would last over time," he said.

The renovation put Canady in charge of other Boy Scouts and ended up tallying 400 man hours of work, including a snag with the base engineers that required coordination with contractors, Canady said.

He said plans to lay a concrete sidewalk were shot down and he was required to put in brick instead.

"It was a complicated process," Canady said. "The engineers decided [concrete] didn’t meet quality control.

"I had to work with the contractor to design a time schedule" for laying a brick sidewalk, Canady said.

The project spanned four months and was paid for by the base.

Canady was named an Eagle Scout on March 29 following the project’s completion and joins a roster of famous top scouts, including movie director Steven Spielberg, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

"My grandfather was an Eagle Scout and I look up to him," Canady said.

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