Boy Scouts pursuing their Eagle status, the Scout's highest achievable honor, usually reach that goal about age 17. The achievement has to be completed before the Scout's 18th birthday.

Brad Altman is 14 years old, and he reached the rank of Eagle on March 8. Brad said it wasn't so difficult for him to accomplish; he just focused on obtaining the necessary preliminary badges.

In order to reach the rank of Eagle, Brad had to proceed through the five ranks that precede Eagle; earn a total of 21 merit badges; serve actively as a leader in a role pertaining to his troop; plan a community service project and finally, convince an Eagle Scout review board.

During one week of summer camp, Brad and a friend said they obtained 13 "open" merit badges.

"It wasn't really too hard, it was a lot of open merit badges so the opportunity was there," Brad said. "It was a lot of art badges, like basket weaving, and the Eagle merit badges, like communications and citizenship in the world."

For his Eagle Scout project, Brad renovated Andrew Alameno/Turtle Gut Park in Wildwood Crest. The park was dedicated to Alameno, who was killed in the World Trade Center during the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

The Altman family is close to the Alameno family, Brad said, so the teenager really wanted to tackle the restoration project. While he was researching the history of the park, Brad found another name, Turtle Gut Park, which is the site of the area's only battle in the American Revolution.

Brad's father, Brian, said his son planted red, white, and blue full blooming perennials that bloom in the fall, to reinforce the park's patriotic history. It took three months over the summer for Brad to complete the project.

Brad had his Eagle review in January, and his ceremony later in March.

He said he started scouting in December 2010, when he was about 11 years old.

"(Scouting) was one of the main things I've been doing these past few years, so it was a lot easier for me to get requirements done faster," Brad said.

He added the drive to attain Eagle status was enough to push him through the difficulty of obtaining badges. He will remain active in scouting, but not as much as he has been in the past.

Brad said being an Eagle is an honor of which magnitude he did not immediately appreciate.

"It's a very prestigious group of people, and I

hadn't realized how many big people were (Eagle Scouts) until I looked it up and realized," he said.

Contact Devin Loring:

609-463-6713