BY RENEE HENDRIX –
Most teenagers’ visions center around their future and themselves as they embark upon a new chapter in life. But there are a few whose visions focus on service to others, as was the vision of Jordan Strickland, when he participated in an age old tradition of “decoration” that was held at the quaint country church and surrounding cemetery where much of his family is laid to rest. Jordan felt his family and church family deserved a church building that they could take pride in. From that day, he made a decision. He was going to do something. He had been searching for a community project that would help him reach the rank of Eagle Scout in his Boy Scout troop.
The nearly century-old Rocky Methodist Church has been an icon of the Rocky community since 1917. Since that time it has seen the passage of time and an ever changing countryside. It has witnessed many wide-eyed brides walk down the aisle on their father’s arm to their future husband. It has felt the grieving of many families as they gathered to say their last goodbyes. If walls could talk, it would tell of the congregation’s joyous singing, happy children participating in Christmas skits and the impelling Word of God being preached on a sunny Sunday morning but with time, comes deterioration. And with time, comes servants… such as Jordan Strickland.
Jordan Strickland is an inspirational 12th grader at Mena High School. He is the son of Willis & Carolyn Strickland. He is a very active Bearcat and participates in several sports including soccer, track and tennis. Strickland is very proud to be a member of the Mena High School Band. His future plans are to attend Rich Mountain Community College following graduation. Where he plans to obtain an Associate of Arts degree and from then decide upon what his major will be.
He has been an active member of Boy Scout Troop #92 led by Scout Leader Fred Chaney for the last 10 years. He has earned several merit badges and chose to pursue the highest achievement and rank attainable in the Boy Scout program, the rank of Eagle Scout. This high level requires an extensive service project that the Scout must plan, organize and lead. This rank is only achieved by 4% of Boy Scouts. It is held as a very honorable and admirable achievement. The requirements alone take years to accomplish. Once the title of “Eagle Scout” is earned, it is held for life. Strickland rose to the challenge and began work upon the old picturesque church building. He and his Boy Scout troop spent countless hours working and repairing the iconic house of worship. From scraping years of old antique paint to repairing broke boards and then applying a new coat of paint to make the restoration project a success. When the community heard of such an undertaking they rose to lend a hand and provide tools and supplies. Strickland said, “We had several businesses such as Handy Hardware, Mike’s Home Specialties and Two Men with Some Tools that were very bighearted and generous to our project.”
When Strickland was asked what his favorite thing is about growing up in Polk County, he said “It’s safe; we don’t have to worry about shoot-outs and lots of crime. It’s a really good place to live in. The people who come from here are just amazing and people of quality. It’s like an old style town. People are nice and fun to be around.”