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Scout has Eagle eye for hydrants

June 09, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING -- Mother Nature wasn't cooperating with Bob Hockenbury last week as he completed painting the last of 29 fire hydrants in Clear Spring in between raindrops.

The work has been part of Bob's Eagle Scout project.

"It was one of several choices for my Eagle project," he said.

A Boy Scout since he was 6, Bob is now a member of Troop 117. He said there are a lot of firefighters in his family, so making the choice was easy.

"I also learned the hydrants in Clear Spring hadn't been pressure tested for a long time," Bob said.

With money from the Town of Clear Spring, the main body of each hydrant was painted yellow. The colors on the caps and bonnets vary by the amount of water pressure each hydrant can produce.

"I only had to buy one gallon of green," Bob said.

Bob explained that the color code is universal, so if firefighters from Maugansville, for instance, come into Clear Spring, they will know which hydrants produce how much water by the colors they bear.

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In addition to painting the hydrants, Bob also mapped their locations and water pressure capabilities. Those maps will be kept at the Clear Spring Fire Co.

The bulk of the painting took place on a recent Sunday. Bob was the "foreman" of the effort and had a lot of helpers doing the actual work.

Now 17 and a senior at Clear Spring High School, Bob is the son of Cindy Hockenbury. In the fall, Bob will begin his freshman year at Cornell University in New York, where he will study agriculture science and education.

"Everyone was great," said Cindy Hockenbury of the painting project. "Bob had a lot of help."

The last hydrant he painted sits directly in front of the high school ag building at the school complex.

"I got into agriculture in my freshman year," Bob said.

Clear Spring High faculty members Terri Shank and Susan Lowery were his inspiration.

Bob said he even took before-and-after pictures of that hydrant to remember his project.

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