Zach Cary’s Eagle Scout Project has been a year in the making. And when he got a break from the three sports he plays, the 17-year-old Harrisburg resident finally found time to finish the task.Cary is a three-sport athlete at Hickory Ridge High. In the fall, he is a key player on the Ragin’ Bulls soccer team and is the kickoff specialist for the football team.In the winter, Cary is a member of the school’s swim team. He has qualified for the 3A state championship meet each of the past three seasons. From November through May, The rising senior also plays club soccer for Charlotte Soccer Academy North.As summer provided a bit of a respite from sports, Cary and dozens of volunteers completed his Eagle Scout project. On June 28-29, they built an 8-foot-wide, 6-foot-deep, 8-foot-tall wooden ticket booth at Harrisburg Park, to be used during some of its popular holiday festivals.“Ever since I was little, I liked to build with Legos,” said Cary. “I enjoy building and working with my hands. I thought this would be the perfect project for me.”The structure was slated to be christened in fine fashion last week for Harrisburg’s three-day Fourth of July celebration.Cary’s family moved to Harrisburg before his freshman year. By that time, Cary already had his Life Scout rank in Boy Scouts, the final step before achieving the rank of Eagle, scouting’s highest.Cary joined Troop 173, which has its weekly Tuesday meetings at Harrisburg Presbyterian Church. One of the requirements for achieving the Eagle rank is planning and completing a community service project. The project must be finished before the Scout’s 18th birthday.Settling into his new home, Cary turned to sports to keep active. Soccer had always been his favorite sport, and he played for Hickory Ridge’s junior varsity as a freshman.In middle school, Cary discovered he enjoyed swimming when he first used the sport as off-season training for soccer. He quickly became one of the Ragin’ Bulls’ top freestylers and was a member of the team’s 400-yard freestyle relay team, which qualified for the state championship meet.Relays continued to be Cary’s best events into his sophomore year. In 2012, he was a member of 200-yard freestyle relay and 200-yard medley relay teams, both of which reached the state meet.This past season, Cary qualified for states in two individual and two relay events. The medley relay placed sixth and Cary finished 10th in the 100-yard freestyle relay.Cary is a starting defender and midfielder for the Ragin’ Bulls’ varsity team. As a junior, he scored two game-winning goals, including an overtime thriller at home against Northwest Cabarrus.Cary got the idea to try out as a kicker for the Hickory Ridge football team last year from a friend who had kicked for a season on junior varsity. Playing the additional sport kept him especially busy during the past 12 months.Last summer, Eric Smallwood, Harrisburg Park and Recreation manager, met with Cary and welcomed his ticket booth idea. An aspiring architect, Cary designed the building so that it would have electricity and air conditioning, quite an amenity during the dog days of summer.“One of the reasons we struggle to find people to volunteer and sell tickets for us is the heat,” said Smallwood. “This will help us find people who want to volunteer. They’ll probably have the best seat in the park because of the air conditioning.”The project was financed through two $1,000 grants through the Duke Energy Foundation’s Matching Gifts Program, applied for by Cary’s mom, Michelle, and a family friend, Kim Sipes, both Duke Energy employees.Through its Global Service Event, Duke Energy also provided volunteers to help with the ticket booth’s construction. Troop 173 Boy Scouts also chipped in.The booth is collapsible and will be stored at Harrisburg Park. It will also be used during the park’s Halloween and Easter festivals.
Tuesday, Jul. 09, 2013
Harrisburg 3-sport athlete finds time to help community
Joe Habina is a freelance writer for Cabarrus News. Have a story idea for Joe? Email him at email@example.com.
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