Coy Burnett Stadium got a much-needed improvement from a local Boy Scout determined to soar as an Eagle.
Darian Brown, 17, of Tehachapi, was driving down Tehachapi Boulevard one day with his mother when he looked up and noticed the sad condition of the sign that once hung over the entrance of the town football field. The old sign, which was made of wood, was falling apart with age.
"I said to myself, that is a really important sign to the community, and it is also falling apart really badly, so what if I were to replace it?" Brown said.
Brown, who is a 2019 graduate of Tehachapi High School and has been a member of Boy Scout Troop 3 for the past six years, said he ran with his idea to create a new sign as a way of earning his Eagle Scout rank, the highest achievement in the Boy Scouts of America program. Since its inception in 1911, only 4 percent of Scouts have earned this rank, according to Wikipedia.
To get the project started, Brown said he first secured permission from Kirk Gilbert, head of maintenance for the Tehachapi Unified School District.
"He helped with everything, from taking down the old sign and putting up the new sign and donating a lot of supplies and tools" Brown said.
Brown then enlisted the help of Mary Reed of Mercury Graphics and her husband, Terry, upon the recommendation of Gilbert, who assisted in the creation of the sign.
The new sign was partially designed by Tehachapi High School's graphic department. It is made of high-density urethane and PVC, and measures 12 feet long.
"I fixed it to make it more readable and added a little flair to it," said Mary, who also painted the sign.
Terry hand-carved the background of the sign, and cut the letters with a machine.
"We tried to keep it similar to the old sign because it was going up in the same area," Terry said. "It should hold up better and stand the test of time."
Although the sign itself took about five weeks to create, the Reeds said they have been working with Brown for more than a year to help raise the $1,800 necessary to cover the cost of building a new sign.
"This was a more-expensive project than what the Eagle Scouts are used to doing. He (Brown) took on quite a bit by wanting to fix this sign," Mary said.
Brown said he is very happy with how the new sign turned out.
"I think it looks amazing, and I am really proud of it," he said.
Brown gave the Reeds a great deal of credit for their assistance in helping him fulfill his Eagle Scout dream.
"I thank them both for their collaboration," said Brown. "Honestly, they have been so patient with me and helpful in so many different ways. They are a major part of this project."
In addition to the Reeds at Mercury Graphics, Brown also gave sincere thanks to the many folks who donated toward the project, including: his parents, Susan and Brett Wilson, Mrs. Pogon-Cord, Mardy and Nancy Tiegland, Tehachapi Flower Shop and Yogurt Junction, Downtown Country Real Estate, ReMax, Valley Oak Appliances, State Farm Insurance, Don Perico’s, Tehachapi Christian Store, Canine Creek, Tehachapi Rodeo Association and Miss Royal International/Miss Junior Teen California Trinity Madden.
"Trinity was a ginormous donator," Brown said. "She held a a giant fundraiser to help me and raised at least half of the money."
Of the old sign, Mary said they are searching for someone to rehab it for the sake of nostalgia, which will be relocated, once done, to hang over the snack bar instead.