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Mar 1, 2016 3:11 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Teen Installs New Sidewalks At Hampton Bays Church For Eagle Scout Project

Todd Anderson Jr. stands next to the sidewalk he built outside of The Episcopal Church of St. Mary in Hampton Bays. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Mar 2, 2016 1:05 PM

It is not unusual to spot Todd Anderson watching as the elderly and wheelchair-bound enter his home parish, the Episcopal Church of St. Mary in Hampton Bays, for Sunday services.For it was not too long ago that the 17-year-old Boy Scout often observed those same parishioners struggling to navigate the bumpy stone pathway leading to the Ponquogue Avenue church.

“I’ve seen people actually fall on the walkway,” Todd said this week. “And I was, like, ‘Someone should do something about this.’”

Rather than wait for someone else to take the lead, Todd went to work and, in the fall, he put the finishing touches on a nearly $5,000 project that replaced the uneven pathway with new sidewalks.

For his efforts, which included raising money and securing donations for the project, the Hampton Bays High School senior and longtime member of Troop 483 will soon receive his Eagle Scout Award, the highest honor in Scouting.

The installation job, which Todd estimates required about 90 hours to finish, is believed to be the largest Eagle Scout project ever completed in Hampton Bays.

Leading the list of impressed observers is the Reverend Phillip Hubbard, the rector of the parish and a Eagle Scout himself.

“It was fabulous,” Rev. Hubbard said. “This project was the most ambitious project I have ever seen. It was just a ton of work that required a lot of organization of boys and adults. It looks beautiful.”

Todd said he came up with the idea a little more than two years ago, but it took him a long time to secure final approval for his Eagle Scout project. After the delay, he was able to begin work last summer.

The old walkway was made of uneven stones that were installed by hand when the church was first built more than a century ago, Todd explained. The stones, some of which still sit in a pile behind the church, have uneven edges, suggesting that they were chiseled by hand when they were installed in the early 1900s.

Some of the original stones weigh nearly 1,000 pounds each, requiring that Todd utilize a donated backhoe to remove them. He also enlisted some help from Jon Raynor, owner of Jon C. Raynor Masonry Inc. in Southampton, to help teach him how to install a safe sidewalk.

“He did quite a bit of it with a little instruction from me,” Mr. Raynor said. “He took the ball and ran with it … He got his hands dirty and did the work.”

The roughly 200 feet of new sidewalks that run from the street and parking lot to the church’s front doors were made from stamped concrete to keep the original rustic feel of the old parish, Todd said. The main difference is that parishioners no longer have to worry about tripping on uneven surfaces.

“The gaps aren’t big enough to cause an issue with the wheels,” Todd said.

Prior to pouring the new sidewalks, he first had to figure out a workaround for a problematic step that made it difficult for those in wheelchairs. To fix this problem, Todd and his crew of volunteers raised the sidewalk to meet the step, creating a ramp.

“Immediately after he finished we had a person in a motorized wheelchair that came for service and they could just glide up to the door,” Rev. Hubbard said. “In the old days they would have needed a lot of assistance.”

Although he finished up in the fall, Todd said the work itself was far more difficult than he had anticipated. It took him nearly three months to install the new sidewalk—much longer than the estimated two to three weeks he had expected when he undertook the project. “There were more [issues] than you could possibly count,” he recalled.

At one point, Todd and his fellow Boy Scouts had to rip up freshly poured concrete due to an overlooked piece of drywall. Another time, he and his fellow volunteers had to dig up an estimated 400-pound tree stump that had been buried in the ground.

The future Eagle Scout says he also learned the importance of alerting the church landscaper about his plans, explaining that water from the sprinklers was hitting sand he just put down at another juncture. There were also a few instances where the concrete dried too quickly, making him and his fellow volunteers rush.

Still, Todd is grateful for the experience.

“I learned a lot about leadership,” he said. “I thought I knew a lot about leadership, but this took it to an entirely new level.”

Todd expects to have the required paperwork filed by next month, allowing him to be recognized as an Eagle Scout. He must achieve the honor before his 18th birthday, which falls on May 26.

In addition to being a Boy Scout, Todd captains the robotics team at Hampton Bays High School, tutors classmates in physics, helps lead activities at St. Mary’s youth group and is a member of the National Honor Society.

After graduating this June, he plans to go to college so he can eventually become an aerospace engineer. His dream job, he noted, is designing rocket ships for NASA.

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What an amazing young man !!!!
By Biba (566), East Hampton on Mar 3, 16 1:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
A true model for our youth and older folk.
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Mar 3, 16 6:15 PM
What an exceptional young man! Todd exemplifies everything good about the Boy Scouts. He is a true leader for the entire East End to recognize and be proud of!!
By BillWillConn3 (180), Southampton on Mar 3, 16 8:44 PM
Isn't it wonderful to see great stories like this, about ambitious and resourceful young men like Todd--for a change. Congratulations Todd and Go Boy Scout Troop 483!
By Capt. Phil (64), Southampton on Mar 4, 16 5:56 AM
Outstanding but a little advice young man, stand up straight, square those shoulders and hold your head high. Be proud of what you did and project that. Again, outstanding!
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Mar 4, 16 8:46 AM
As a person who hires/fires it is not 'critical BS', its real world advice.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Mar 4, 16 9:27 AM
1 member liked this comment
If you are a person that hires and fires and has real word advice, put your real name to your post. Anyone that has real word advice would know not to listen to a undercover blogger -
By farmlocal (83), Southampton on Mar 4, 16 10:09 AM
1 member liked this comment
Yeah I use to do that until some creep came to my house so no thanks Mr. Farm Local (hypocrite).
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Mar 5, 16 6:25 AM
How about no.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Mar 7, 16 9:19 AM
Great job Todd!! You make HB proud!!
By kkelly75 (31), Hampton Bays on Mar 4, 16 4:43 PM
2 members liked this comment
KUDOS to a great guy! St. Mary' is so proud of your Spirit !
By carsrus (65), Hampton Bays on Mar 4, 16 5:12 PM
Can't wait to return to HB this summer and see it! Great job Todd! A wonderful church filled with wonderful people.
By Mhmott (1), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 16 1:02 PM
Wonderful accomplishment!
By baywoman (165), southampton on Mar 11, 16 11:25 AM