By James Niedzinski
---- — LONDONDERRY — When Sean Cardwell chose his Eagle Scout project, he decided to go big — really, really big.
He’s closing in on construction of a massive granite memorial to honor three Londonderry High School alumni who died serving their country.
The 17-year-old Londonderry High School senior is a member of Troop 109.
Three Londonderry High School graduates have died while serving in the armed forces. Lance Cpl. Peter Sora graduated in 2002, and died during a training accident at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
PFC Eric Currier graduated in 2007 and died in 2010 during operations in Helmand, Afghanistan.
Air Force Lt. Peter Sohm graduated in 2006 and died in 2011 in a plane crash near Goodfellow Air Base in Texas.
”I wanted to build something that would last,” Cardwell said, “not something that would rot or only last a few years, something people would remember.”
Cardwell and about 20 of his friends and fellow Scouts started construction on the project in August, removing bushes and leveling the land. From there, holes were dug and huge columns were put into place.
The memorial will include four vertical granite columns, weighing in at 350 pounds and standing more than 6 feet tall.
”They are pretty heavy, said Connor Maher, 17. “It took about five of us just to get one in the ground.”
Each column will have a plaque with the symbol for the different branches of the military, as well as the names of those who died.
The project has cost about $1,000 so far, and is expected to cost an additional $500. Money for the project came from fundraisers and donations.
Although Cardwell expects to finish his project soon, time is not on his side.
Boy Scout regulations state an Eagle Scout candidate must finish his project by his 18th birthday; for Cardwell, that is only two months away.
”I’m completing this, no matter what, even if it’s long past my 18th birthday,” he said.
Assistant principal Art Psaledas helped Cardwell come up with the idea, suggesting a memorial was needed to benefit the school and the community.
”As an educator, something like this really hits home,” Psaledas said. “When you lose one of your students who you used to see every day, it really hits everyone hard.”
A granite column will lay across the front, with the inscription, “Dedicated to those brave Londonderry High School alumni who gave the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our country’s freedom.”
Anyone interested in helping Cardwell with the project can email him at email@example.com.