HEPHZIBAH, Ga. (WJBF)– A local teen completed his last Boy Scout project this morning. Austin Cato is honoring his late mother while at the same time improving a Richmond County school.
Cato’s mom passed away from liver cancer in 2015. The 17 year-old boy said his mom’s last wish was for him to finish Boy Scouts, but he’s doing much more– he’s honoring his mother’s legacy.
“It looks really good. It turned out a lot better than I thought,” Cato said while looking at the finished project.
Austin Cato has advanced through the Boy Scout ranks. The only thing standing between him and becoming an Eagle Scout: the Eagle Scout project.
“I thought it would be a fitting end since my mother was the one who put me in scouting, and she went through all this stuff with me for scouting. She’d want me to build a memorial garden for her,” Cato said.
This memorial will be enjoyed by more than just the Cato family– it’s at Diamond Lakes Elementary in Hephzibah, where Cato’s mom was a teacher.
“She always wanted me to get my Eagle Scout because it was going to help me later on in life in college. She was really pushing it towards the end of her life,” Cato said.
Cato’s Boy Scout leader, Tony Troxel, said scouts learn life-long skills in the program. He explained how Cato put his skills to action when his mom’s life was at risk.
“She had an incident at home where she passed out, and his training and the skills that he learned in first aid he got to apply and help his mom in that situation,” Troxel said.
“She was a big role in my life. She helped me through many things in my life. She put me in Boy Scouts which is a big help,” Cato recalled.
Family members and friends came out to support Cato, his step-dad, George Tussey, being one.
“It’s honoring her at the school, and it’s fantastic that a Richmond County school let that happen here, so we have to commend them for sure. The Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts lead our kids to be patriotic, and in return, you see what happens. It’s wonderful,” Trussey said.
Cato’s boy scout leader said younger boys in the program came out to see what the project was all about. He said Austin is a great example and hopes the younger generation will follow in his steps.