James Matthew Ralls spent six days last summer priming and painting 2,870 square feet of wrought-iron fences and gates at the Wordnet Production Catholic Ministry in San Bernardino.
The project earned him his Eagle Scout badge. At an hourlong ceremony Saturday afternoon at First United Methodist Church to celebrate the accomplishment, he couldn’t remember exactly when he did his Eagle Scout Service Project, just that it was hot.
Highland Scout Troop 45 was established in 2010. Since then, eight Scouts have achieved Scouting’s highest honor, which requires at least 21 merit badges, Scoutmaster Robert Albright said at the gathering.
Of the 21 merit badges, 13 are required: Camping, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Cooking, Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving, Environmental Science or Sustainability, Family Life, First Aid, Personal Fitness, Personal Management and swimming, hiking or cycling.
Six Eagle Scouts, including James and his older brother Chris, were at Saturday’s ceremony. Chris went through the ceremony in April 2016. Their father, John Ralls, is an assistant Scoutmaster.
James Ralls, who is now 18, said he joined the Cub Scouts in September 2005 as a Tiger Scout. He moved through the ranks with Cub Scout Pack 24, becoming Wolf Scout, a Bear Scout and then the Webelos.
“Then I received my Arrow of Light on May 5, 2010,” he said in a written statement. The honor is given to fifth-graders, according to scouting.org.
After graduating from Pack 24, he joined Troop 45, which is sponsored by First United Methodist Church. He has been with the troop for seven years.
Ralls was presented a proclamation from state Sen. Mike Morrell by Field Representative Joshua Monzon. Highland Mayor Pro Tem Jesse Chavez and Councilwoman Anaeli Solano presented him a proclamation from the city. Assemblyman Marc Steinorth also issued a proclamation, although he didn’t send a representative.
Ralls was also given an American flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol and a letter from the pope.
Ralls thanked fellow Scouts who worked with him throughout the project at the ministry on Highland Avenue. His mother, Georgia gave gifts to all those who helped along the way.
Ralls is a senior at San Gorgonio High School. He will graduate on June 4.
Asked what he would do after high school, he said, “I don’t know. Probably look for a job.”