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Scout's efforts a welcome gesture for Marlowe

April 25, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARLOWE, W.Va. - Sixteen-year-old Kirk Rude is thinking about becoming an architect.

Rude likes making designs on computers, and he enjoys going to job sites with his father, who is an architect.

Now the community and passers-by can get a taste of the youth's talents.

In a ceremony Sunday afternoon that was attended by more than 50 people, Rude unveiled a sign measuring 12 feet long and 7 feet high that welcomes people to the northern Berkeley County community of Marlowe.

In a project that took nine months for Rude to complete, the carved wooden sign shows the sun behind a mountain and a blue body of water that is meant to portray the Potomac River.

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The sign, which is framed in stone, proclaims "Welcome to Marlowe" and lists the date of the establishment of the town, which was 1894.

It is located along U.S. 11, a short distance north of the Marlowe interchange on Interstate 81.

Rude decided to build the sign as part of his Eagle Scout project. Rude said when he and his father, Barry Rude, were thinking about a possible project, his father realized that Marlowe did not have a town sign.

The two went to work.

While Rude and his father concentrated on the wooden sign, Panhandle Builders & Excavating donated the stone and a stone mason who works for Dan Ryan Builders donated his time to do the stone work, Rude said.

The cedar sign took shape in a garage at Rude's home in Falling Waters, W.Va. Rude and his father carved the mountain and sun from wood and glued them to the sign. Using a router, Rude and his father carved the letters and the Potomac River.

"It was a lot of work. It probably took a month and a half of weekends," Kirk Rude said of the work in his garage.

"I'm really proud of how I did on it. It proves that hard work does pay off in the end," said Rude, a member of the Troop 16 Boy Scouts in Marlowe for about six years.

Local state lawmakers and Berkeley County officials were among those who attended the unveiling of the sign.

Del. John Overington, R-Berkeley, and state Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley/Jefferson, said the sign is a testament to the community spirit in Marlowe.

Berkeley County Commissioner Howard Strauss said the county continues to experience significant population growth, which could result in separation in communities. But a project like Rude's shows how tight-knit Marlowe remains.

"I appreciate all your work. This is just amazing," Strauss said.

Rude said he started on the project last July when he and about four other members of his Boy Scout troop began clearing brush from the site. The property where the sign was built is owned by Billie and Genevive McWilliams, who gave Rude permission to build the sign.

Rude, a sophomore at Hedgesville High School, said he is thinking about studying to be an architect after graduation. He is considering Rice University in Houston.

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