Boy Scout finds home for historic anchor
BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — A nearly century-old anchor separated from its ship finally has a resting place at the Georgia Ports Authority’s office next to Mary Ross Waterfront Park thanks to a prospective Eagle Scout with Boy Scouts of America Troop 248.
In 1922, the anchor held the four-masted schooner Woodstopton while a tugboat assisted it in approaching the port of Darien. The anchor cable snapped, and the anchor itself sank into Doboy Sound between Sapelo and Wolf islands in McIntosh County.
Dredged up decades later, the Lewis family, owners of the old Lewis Crab Factory in downtown Brunswick, put in on display until the factory closed in 1998.
Through some friends, Jack Fendig, a member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 248, found out the former owners of the business were hoping it could be used in a publicly visible way.
“They had an anchor they were moving and needed to get rid of it, and wanted to put it in a place where people could see it,” Fendig said. “At the same time, I was getting close to earning Eagle and needed an Eagle Scout project.”
It now sits at the entrance to the Georgia Ports Authority’s downtown office, just across Gloucester Street from Mary Ross Park’s liberty ship replica.
“It’s a credit to the life of the anchor, to put in a place it will be remembered and can be seen,” said Bill Dawson, general manager of the Brunswick port.
Fendig had more in mind than simply moving the anchor from one place to another, however. When in use, the anchor would have had a horizontal wooden beam with metal bands affixed to both ends. Instead of going an easier route, Fendig worked to restore it as faithfully as possible.
Fendig spent several months chiseling grooves into the wooden beam with hand tools while two scouts from another Boy Scout troop used blacksmithing tools and techniques from the time period to make the bands.
“In the old days that’s how they’d do it, we chiseled it so we could put the blacksmith bands on it,” Fendig said.
From there, with help from his fellow scouts and troop leaders, Fendig had the anchor moved by tractor, and placed it where it now rests with a forklift at the port’s office at Mary Ross Waterfront Park.
“As the forklift had it lifted up, we put the pavers under it, and they slowly lowered it onto the pavers,” Fendig said.
Finally, he and some other troop members laid a concrete foundation for a plaque, which tells the anchor’s tale.
From start to finish, Fendig said the project took about a year.
“His Eagle project was more involved than any I’ve seen. I think he logged a total of 200 hours on his project, which is a lot,” said Jay Torbert, Troop 248′s scoutmaster.
Early on, Fendig decided not to raise money. Local businesses donated all the supplies needed for the project, he said.
“Jack is a fine young man. He’s a hard worker. He had to balance athletics and scouts, and has done a good job doing that,” Torbert said.
The project was Fendig’s last step to earning the Eagle Scout award, but he’s not entirely done. His project still needs to be evaluated by an Eagle Scout Board of Review, which is set for September.
“I really like how scouts has taught me leadership. By that I mean, in this project everything I had just wouldn’t fit quite right, and I had to take charge and deal with it. It taught me a lot,” Fendig said.
He plans to stay with the troop for a few months to help younger scouts as older scouts had helped him, he said.
“It feels good, like I’m on top of the pyramid, but I’m really glad everyone helped me out,” Fendig said. “I’d just like to thank everyone who helped me get where I am. It took a lot of work to get this far.”
Information from: The News, http://www.thebrunswicknews.com