Scouts join family to finish Eagle Scout project

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- They attend different schools, but a group of boys from Phoenix and Scottsdale became best friends through Boy Scouts.

When one of those boys died suddenly last fall, it was a lesson in how limited our time can be. So the group of friends worked with the family to make sure Austin Hicks’ life is more than a memory. 

"I'm amazed it works," said Eric Bohn, standing on a block in a circle of sand. "It definitely does work."

"It turned out great," said Spencer Miesch.

There are many Eagle Scout projects at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center. But one strip of blocks and numbers is special.

"He told me we have the tiles in a straight line like this and all measured out," said Bohn.

"I thought it was a really awesome plan," said Mason Meszaros.

We met the four high school juniors to talk about their friend, Austin Hicks. The teens are all members of Boy Scout Troop 109.

"It's what he planned," said Mitchell Bouwens. "Shame if it didn't get done."

Last month, they joined dozens of friends, scouts and family to install Hicks' sundial.

"They really wanted to complete his Eagle Scout project," said Austin’s father, Jay.  "So we took it on."

This was a chance to finish something 17-year-old Hicks started last year. He was working to complete his Eagle Award just as his brother, father and grandfather did before him.

"The community is what kind of helped us through this," said Jay Hicks.

Austin's parents recalled how their smart, confident boy died in a rollover crash in October. It was fall break and he was returning from a camping trip with high school friends to Fossil Creek.

"It's hard," said his mother Jennifer Hicks. "There are times when it’s just unfair. You think you shouldn't be going on."

It’s always a shock to lose a young person with such promise.  But the Hicks family has endured. And Austin's fellow scouts look at the project they helped finish and remember their friend.

"He was original," said Bohn. "I don't think I've ever know anyone like Austin."

"He was the funniest kid I knew," said Miesch.

"He had a personality that was so different from everyone else," said Meszaros.

"He was so funny and had his own style and his own way of thinking about life," recalled Bouwens.

"Is friendship like that hard to find?" we asked.

"Yes," Bohn responded. "Definitely. Which is what made it so hard to lose."

Boy Scouts of America awarded Austin Hicks the Spirit of the Eagle Award. His parents also started a scholarship in his name for Chaparral High School students who suffer a life-changing loss.