Eagle Scout on track

Published 10:26 pm Monday, November 19, 2012

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy sophomore Patrick Suttle stands next to a train caboose at the Suffolk Seaboard Railroad Museum, which he and volunteers spruced up as part of his Eagle Scout project.

A keen interest in railroads led a Nansemond-Suffolk Academy sophomore to spearhead a spruce-up of the old station on North Main Street for his Eagle Scout project.

Patrick Suttle, a nine-year Scouting movement veteran, can definitely be called a railroad enthusiast.

“I just like learning about them in general,” said Suttle, who has been volunteering at the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum every other Saturday for about a year. “I enjoy reading books about it.”

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His volunteer duties include operating the model train and teaching visitors the history of the station and the different rail services that used it.

“I meet many people,” he said, adding that one family actually traveled from Connecticut to see the museum.

His Troop 1 Scoutmaster, who is on the station committee, had first suggested what became Suttle’s project, for the station’s 125th anniversary.

Suttle got started in August 2010 and learned the completed project had passed the final board of review on June 10.

Suttle split 22 young volunteers into teams. During two weekends, they fixed up the garden, cleaned the building’s exterior, mapped the floor and picked up trash. The boys even guided visitors.

Lowe’s donated some cleaning supplies and Roy’s and Ricky’s Catering fed the troops.

“It was a great experience because it allowed for a whole bunch of members of our troop to get together and get to know each other and work really hard together as a team,” Suttle said.

Suttle was a Cub Scout for four years before gaining his Arrow of Light award and transitioning to the Boy Scouts four years ago.

As a Boy Scout he’s been on 34 camping trips, including a 110- mile, 10-day trek at Philmont Scout Ranch.

“Ten days out in the wilderness is a pretty good experience,” he said. “It was my fist time carrying all my gear in a backpack. For me, it was a lifetime experience.”

Suttle visited the New Mexico ranch one other time, during a three-week cross-country trip that also included Georgia, New Orleans and Austin.

He went with the Scouts to New York in 2008, visiting Gettysburg, Niagara Falls, Cooperstown and West Point along the way.

The junior assistant Scoutmaster, who also announces junior varsity baseball and does stats for junior varsity basketball, has his sights set on working for Norfolk Southern after studying locomotive engineering.

Patrick Suttle Sr. said of his son’s Eagle Scout award, “I’m proud that he made it. It was fortunate that he had the opportunity.”