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Scouts Add Shine to City’s Kennedy Park

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
May 18, 2022
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Larry Goughnour, a Boy Scout from North Huntingdon Twp., shows off one of the decayed boards that was replaced on a bench in McKeesport’s Kennedy Park. Goughnour organized a work day at the park as part of a service project for earning his Eagle Scout rank. (Tube City Almanac photo)

If Kennedy Park on Lysle Boulevard is looking a little shinier these days, thank a group of Boy Scouts from North Huntingdon Twp.

Members of Troop 251, attached to St. John's United Church of Christ in the township’s Larimer section, spent Saturday performing a variety of fix-up chores, including replacing wooden benches, trimming and shoring shrubbery and bushes, pressure washing a wall and painting about half of the 50-foot flagpole at the site.

The work was organized by Larry Goughnour, a member of Troop 251 and a student at Norwin High School. Goughnour arranged the project — with permission from McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko and city council — as part of his effort to earn a promotion to Eagle Scout.

Beckham Warhold, a second-class scout from Irwin and a student at Norwin Middle School, helped paint about 25 feet of the 50-foot flagpole at Kennedy Park. City employees will do the rest. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Eagle is the highest rank available to members of the Boy Scouts of America. Only about 8 percent of Scouts achieve Eagle each year, according to the Boy Scouts. Achieving the title requires earning at least 21 merit badges and completing an extensive service project.

“My whole family was from McKeesport,” Goughnour said. “My uncles and great-grandfathers were police officers here. In driving past the park I noticed it was getting into disarray, and when I first joined Scouts I thought, ‘some day I’m going to do fix it up.’ So the day finally came when I get to fix it up.”

About 30 scouts, their parents and members of the Shriners participated in Saturday’s work, which began at 8 a.m.

Goughnour also was joined by several members of Troop 251 who have already achieved Eagle Scout status.

Chris Hall, scoutmaster of Troop 251, said the troop encourages older scouts to work to reach Eagle. Other projects Troop 251 scouts have completed included construction of a bridge at Lions Park off Robbins Station Road, replacement of a handicap ramp at St. John’s church and work at a VFW hall.

“We’re very motivated to get the boys to get their achievements knocked out,” Hall said. “The younger ones look to the older ones as examples so they can move on and get their own Eagle.”

Joe Stickle of Jeannette, uncle of Larry Goughnour, and brother Tyler Goughnour of Troop 251 help trim and mulch shrubs in Kennedy Park. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Materials were donated by several local businesses, including Sherwin-Williams paint store, Downtown; Busy Beaver, North Huntingdon; and Home Depot, North Versailles Twp.

An anonymous donor provided six commemorative plaques for the benches. The plaques honor several notable McKeesporters, including Dr. Harry Lanauze, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen; former McKeesport councilman and Vietnam veteran Bill Dougherty; World War I Army nurse Esther Yochelson; Congressional Medal of Honor winner Franklin J. Phillips; Pittsburgh police commander Gwen Elliott; and “People of McKeesport, past present and future.”

Volunteers lay protective fabric in a flower bed. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Originally published May 18, 2022.

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