South Arkansas Arboretum Board member Matthew Connior, far right, presents a letter of thanks on Monday to Boy Scout Eryk Villano written by Board President Bob Watson. Villano was recognized for leading a project to construct eight new trash cans at the Arboretum. One is pictured here. The Arboretum is managed by South Arkansas Community College.
Over the last three months, 16-year-old Eryk Villano of El Dorado led a team of more than 20 people in constructing and placing eight new wooden trash cans at the South Arkansas Arboretum. His initiative and contribution were recognized on Monday.

Villano, who has been a member of the Boy Scouts organization since age 7, is working toward the rank of Eagle Scout. In order to get there, among other tasks he needed to complete a service project.
The Arboretum Board knew that the park was in need of new and sturdier trash cans, but had to find volunteers to construct them.
The local Boy Scout Executive Board felt as though this would be a good project for a prospective Eagle Scout and connected the Arboretum Board to Villano through Scout Master Wayne Harrell.
Villano accepted the challenge.

"I have to tell the boys that it's not doing a project, it's planning and preparing," Harrell said.

In other words, Villano's role was less carpenter and more project foreman, although there was plenty of hands-on labor involved for him personally. The eight trash receptacles took more than 100 man hours to complete; at the apex, a dozen workers carried out the project under Villano's guidance.

"It's really a leadership role," Villano said. "You have to get everything organized."

The Arboretum is managed by South Arkansas Community College. Physical plant director Graham Peterson designed the trash cans and gave the plans and materials over to Villano, who constructed a prototype that was approved by the Arboretum Board before he moved forward with the project.

He said that the amount of woodwork done "was kind of a new major thing" for him, although he had built smaller wooden items at home previously.
Harrell said that his Troop has had 42 Eagles in its history, and that Villano could be No. 43.

"He's a good kid, and a good organizer," Harrell said.

Villano said that he has three uncles who were Eagle Scouts and was inspired to get into Scouting because of them.
"It sounded like a good adventure," he said.