Alex Pereira needs help to fix Lutz Cemetery
By Kyle LoJacono
Lutz 13-year-old and Academy at the Lakes seventh grader Alex Pereira wants to be the youngest Eagle Scout in Boy Scout Troop 12 history, but needs a little help finishing his project.
Alex’s plan is to fix the section of the Lutz Cemetery known as Babyland. The section is on the corner of one of the driving paths in the cemetery, located at the corner of US 41 and Fifth Avenue N.E. The section was surrounded by marble blocks, but during the years pieces have cracked, been lost or even run over.
“I want to clean up the baby section and make it nice because a lot of the Lutz babies are buried there and I think it should be in better shape,” Alex said. “…It looks like people are driving over one corner of Babyland and I don’t want people driving over the graves.”
Besides replacing the missing and cracked marble, Alex plans on installing a six-foot pole to mark the corner of the section so people cannot run over it any more. He will also be weeding the ground and doing some light landscaping.
“I think it’s a wonderful project,” Brenda said. “The cemetery needs a lot of help…When I saw the baby section it was heartbreaking to see that people have been driving over the graves.”
“I heard it would be a good project from Joey Vars,” Alex said.
Vars was the last scout from the troop to earn his Eagle Scout award and also did his final project at the cemetery. Each scout needs to complete a large service project in order to achieve the rank.
Of the 60 Eagle Scouts in Troop 12 history, Jack Herridge is the youngest ever for the Lutz troop at 14-years-old. Alex will turn 14 July 17.
“I keep track of the ages of the boys coming before our board in Tocobaga District,” said Bob Jackson, Tocobaga District Eagle Board of Review Chairman for the last eight years. “For the past four years right at 75 percent of the eagle candidates coming before the board turned 18 before their (Eagle Scout) board of review.
“The youngest we have seen was 13, and I think we have had three of those during my tenure as chair,” continued Jackson, who lives in Lutz.
The district includes scouts in all of Tampa and much of north Hillsborough County, including Lutz and Odessa. Scouts can be 18-years-old during their final board of review, which is an interview where the scout talks with district representatives to see if he is ready for the rank. Certain scout requirements make it nearly impossible to be an Eagle Scout younger than 13.
Alex said of trying to be the youngest Eagle Scout from the troop, “When I heard about the record I thought it would be a good thing to try and break. It would cool for people to say Alex Pereira is the youngest Eagle Scout from Troop 12.”
That competitive drive is in line with Alex’s character.
“He likes to stand out,” said Alex’s father Andrew. “His great-grandfather got his Eagle Scout in either 1931 or 1932 from (Troop 38) in Tampa. I hung his eagle certificate on his wall so he knew. I guess you could say he’s trying to compete within the family.”
Andrew said he was in scouting for a little more than a year, but did not go very far into the program.
While Alex’s drive is strong, he has hit a snag. He originally thought the project would cost about $800, but when he went to get estimates it was double that for the marble. Alex has been selling popcorn at the Publix Super Markets at the apex of US 41 and N. Nebraska Avenue in Lutz and near his school in Land O’ Lakes.
“He’s been one of our leaders from the start and we’d love to see him get the rank before he turns 14,” said Troop 12 scoutmaster Dan O’Dea. “There’s got to be people in the community who have people buried in the cemetery that might want to help with the expenses. We’d like to get him some community support.”
To send tax deductible donations
Make checks payable to Troop 12 Inc. and mail to:
504 Brooktree Court
Lutz, FL 33548
Indicate in the notes the check is for Alex’s Eagle Scout project
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.