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Scout earns Eagle rank with tree

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Chris Genereux decided he didn't want to do a simple service project to complete his Eagle Scout requirements.

Instead Genereux, a junior at Detroit Lakes High School and member of Troop 674, decided to coordinate with the City of Detroit Lakes to plant trees on the new soccer field just north of the Minnesota State Community and Technical College on May 8.

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"I thought it would be a good way to give back to the community," Genereux said. "This is a new plat of land and they need trees around here during the summer when there's soccer going on. I thought it would nice to plant trees for some shade."

Ten trees were planted that day and included a variety of species.

"Most of the trees are maples," said Jeff Leitheiser, one of Genereux's Boy Scout leaders and an employee at the Detroit Lakes Public Works Department, as he motioned over to the large pots. "There are five maples and three lindens."

Besides just doing the dirty work, Genereux learned how to sort through a bureaucracy in receiving the approval from a couple of city departments that included getting the trees and arranging for heavy equipment to help with digging.

Genereux, though, first got the approval from his Scout troop before moving to the next step. Then came getting the city, the Detroit Lakes Youth Soccer Association and the nursery donating the trees on board with his project as well.

Helping things along was Leitheiser, who was also on hand during the project itself.

"I knew it was a good thing, and we checked with them (the city) and made it work out," Leitheiser said.

He said he has strong ties with the Genereux family, leading Chris and a brother for several years in scouting.

"I was a Cub Scout leader and Chris' younger brother Mike was in my group," Leitheiser said. "And I just moved on to Boy Scouts with the rest of them. (I've) been involved ever since."

Several friends came out to help Genereux dig and water. Jeff Fish, one of those friends, said that the project would be a nice addition to the fields, considering what the essential function of trees are in the ecosystem. "It's for what trees do," Fish said. "To recycle carbon dioxide."

Genereux's project didn't end with planting. He said all that's left is to thank everyone involved who helped make his vision possible. And then it's time for his Eagle Scout Court of Honor.

After planting and initial watering, the trees will be a welcome sight on what was an open patch of land.

"The community enjoys it, the soccer field enjoys it, and it's just a good way to give back," Genereux said.

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