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One of the requirements of the Eagle rank, which many Life scouts strive to obtain, is the planning and execution of the Eagle Scout Service Project. For 10 years, Coppell resident and father David Lautzenheiser has helped many scouts achieve this goal as Eagle Mentor for Boy Scouts who have chosen to complete their Eagle projects at Coppell Nature Park. Working closely with Coppell Nature Park volunteers Lou Duggan and Pete Parish, Lautzenheiser provides the woodworking and design guidance for Boy Scouts, as well as a shop for them to complete their projects.
In 2007, when the first Coppell Nature Park trails were completed (as an Eagle project) a need for trail signs arose. Lautzenheiser, a hobbyist woodworker, was asked to assist a Troop 841 scout to complete a group of identification signs for the trails.
What initially was a simple favor soon grew to be much more. Lautzenheiser has now assisted and coached scouts from multiple troops in designing and executing additional signs, tables, benches and trail steps at the park including about 50 Eagle projects.
"It is very rewarding to watch these young scouts grow and mature over the years through the scouting program," Lautzenheiser said. "At the end of almost every Eagle project, the scout proudly says, 'I didn't know I could do that. Wow!'"
Lautzenheiser first became involved with the Cub and Boy Scouts when his oldest son became a Cub Scout in 1996. Over the years, he has served in many roles with Boy Scout Troop 842, including Scoutmaster and now currently Eagle Mentor, working with Life scouts progressing to achieve their Eagle rank.
An outstanding and high-performing group, the Coppell Boy Scouts generate a much larger percentage of Eagle Scouts than the national average and while this is certainly partially thanks to Lautzenheiser's involvement in the program and mentorship, he remains humble.
"It isn't just my work," Lautzenheiser said. "It is a shared journey that has involved the five excellent Boy Scout troops in Coppell, the engagement of the Friends of Coppell Nature Park, and the City of Coppell Parks Department. It is their vision and dedication that have made these opportunities possible."