Foster Patterson of Hoquiam Troop 100 became an Eagle Scout last Sunday, achieving the highest youth rank in Scouts BSA.
“He is a very respectful young man with great leadership qualities,” said Scout leader Rick Strom. “I knew from the beginning he would complete this honor with pride and dignity, and I was not disappointed.”
Foster, 16, is the son of Dan and Shannon Patterson of Hoquiam. He’s been in Scouts since he was in second grade.
“Dan and I are proud of Foster’s hard work and commitment,” said Shannon.
Foster’s Eagle service project was an instrument drive for the Wishkah Valley School District, where his mother is the band director. He was a student there from first through eighth grade, and he joined the band in fifth grade.
“Their music program helped me get started and find out what was my passion,” he said.
Foster learned the trombone and tuba at Wishkah Valley and now plays in the Aberdeen High School band, which is led by his father.
“All of (Wishkah Valley’s) instruments were super old. They didn’t work very well, and (the school) didn’t have very many of them,” said Foster. “So when it was time to decide what I was going to do for my project, I decided I wanted to give back to them and make it so every student in their music program could have instruments that worked.”
He secured a $3,000 grant from Grays Harbor Community Foundation, which he used to purchase a new concert bass drum and concert xylophone. “Those two instruments instantly changed the quality of music that my students could produce,” said Shannon.
In addition, through word of mouth and social media, Foster solicited donations of new and used instruments from the local community and beyond. (One donor sent a trumpet all the way from North Carolina.)
In total, he collected three flutes, six clarinets, one saxophone, six trumpets, five trombones, two snare drums and various small percussion instruments for Wishkah Valley.
“Not everyone is able to purchase or rent their own instrument, and lots of kids would like to explore band without making a big financial commitment,” said Shannon. “He has equipped the school district to lend instruments to any student who needs one.”
“I’m just really glad I could use this opportunity to help the school out and provide everyone who would like to with an opportunity to do band,” said Foster, “because that’s what’s important to me.”
How does he feel about achieving the lofty rank of Eagle Scout?
“I’m glad I stuck with it,” he said. “There were a couple of times when I felt like it wasn’t for me, and there was other stuff I could be doing. But now — I made it, and it’s awesome!”