Jackson Adams of Walla Walla, Wash., has been named The American Legion’s Eagle Scout of the Year for 2023. The selection was made by The American Legion’s Youth Activities Sub-Committee during the Legion’s Spring Meetings, May 10-11. As the National Eagle Scout of the Year, Adams is receiving a $10,000 college scholarship.
The committee also selected three runners-up who will each receive a $2,500 scholarship – Taylor E. Bell of of Murfreesboro, Tenn; Charles Hiatt of Manhattan Beach, Calif.; and Samuel Mozzillo of Athens, N.Y.
Adams is a senior at Walla Walla High School and member of Scouts BSA Troop 305.
For his Eagle Scout project, Adams “knew I wanted to give back to the environment where I spent much of my Scouting career and decided to incorporate my growing environmental science experience.” He first looked into restoring a neglected trail in the North Folk Umatilla Wilderness, but a flood “stripped away” all access to the trail. He then connected with the Tri-State Steelheaders, an organization devoted to improving salmon habitat. Together, they worked on the construction and installation of three locks for the Walla Walla river that would serve as spawning pools for salmon being reintroduced by the organization. Once again, his plans were disrupted, this time by the 2020 pandemic.
After a few weeks of online schooling, he took it upon himself to learn about computer-aided design and 3D printing. “As masks became increasingly common, I started to design and 3D print a variety of COVID Personal Protective Equipment, which I distributed to my local hospital,” he said. “My ear savers, a collection of mask straps that relieve pressure on the wearer’s ears, became especially popular.” When a local news article mentioned the ear savers, community members began asking how they could help.
Adams began a community-wide effort to provide 1,000 ear savers to frontline workers. In the end, he more than doubled his goal.
“I was tested mentally and emotionally, but I am proud to have persisted through each setback,” Adams said. “As I look toward the future, I can’t wait to apply the leadership, organization and communication skills that I honed during my project in my future endeavors in Scouting, service and beyond.”
Adams will be studying mechanical engineering at Northwestern University this fall.
Adams will receive a trip to The American Legion’s 104th National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in August to be honored alongside the other American Legion youth program champions.