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Eagle Scout Project in Westerlo Helps Local First Responders

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

WESTERLO, NY - A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for a new walking path that was unveiled in support of first responders, spearheaded by a local Eagle Scout. 

Andrew Joslin, Jr. unveiled the Heroes’ Way walking path at the Westerlo Veterans’ Memorial Park on Sunday, September 10th, as part of his Eagle Scout Service Project. Joslin, Jr. is a life scout with Troop 42 and also a junior firefighter with the Westerlo Fire Department.

“This project is about honoring those who serve their community and country; whether they fought in past wars, fly an F16, protect citizens from harm, provide life-saving measures, put out fire or are the voice in the dark when someone needs help,” he said. “This project and this ribbon cutting are for you.”

He grew up around community service as his father, Andrew Joslin, currently serves as the chief of the Westerlo Fire Department, where his mother, Lisa, is also a member. His project was about honoring all the heroes in his life and honoring everyone who serves their communities and country.

“It honors them by providing a place of tranquility and reflection; quiet places to sit and reflect; in the evenings, the military bench provides the setting sun as a reminder that while the day is done, there is tomorrow to live for,” he said. 

Andrew Joslin, Drew’s father and Chief of the Westerlo Fire Department, says the project highlights the sacrifices and risk that first responders and military personnel deal with, as well as occupational stresses and the importance of mental health.

He said firefighters are considered heroes that “save the day,” but sometimes those “days” were predetermined not to be saved.

“These days we may be exposed to the passing of someone, the trauma of a family, and visions that we may never forget. These days there is only sadness,” Joslin said. “The only recognition we receive is from our fellow firefighters that we did our best. These are the days I feel Heroes’ way speaks to itself as a place to walk, reflect and reminisce.”

Joslin says there is a stigma with seeking help that some see as a sign of weakness.

“Studies have shown that up to 92% of surveyed firefighters indicate this stigma as a reason for their unwillingness to get help,” Joslin says. “Hopefully, Heroes’ Way highlights that a firefighter’s mental health is important, and we should seek resources for help when struggling to deal with an event on the job.”

The walking path includes a bridge that was built and dedicated to those we lost on September 11th, and those we continue to lose.

There is another bench sponsored by the Westerlo Fire Department in honor of all members of the fire service that have been lost in the line of duty. 

“That small idea became so much bigger than I ever dreamed it would,” Joslin, Jr. said. “The amount of work done on this project has been hard, but in the end, it is worth it because I get to help my heroes live a healthier mental life.”

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THOMAS MARRA Correspondent

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