Montevallo’s own Tom Sawyer

Published 10:33 pm Thursday, November 6, 2008

The American Village now has its own version of Tom Sawyer.

Helena resident Josh Wilson, a senior at Pelham High School, decided to do his Eagle Scout service project at the American Village this past summer.

While the Villagers had some ideas for him, he came up with his own and asked if he could paint the front entrance gate and the 200-foot picket fence running along the entranceway.

Johnny Curry, special projects coordinator at the Village, said officials jumped at the chance.

“That fence was a fence in bad need of painting,” Curry said. “Our maintenance crew does not put fence painting at the top of the list.”

Curry said getting the fence painted was important, however, because the dirty fence left people with a bad impression of the American Village as a whole.

“It’s the first impression,” he said. “It’s the first thing people see when they come in.”

Upon hearing the fence-painting idea, Curry said he immediately thought of another famous fence-painter ¬— Tom Sawyer.

“It just reminded me of ‘Tom Sawyer,’ a great American novel and the all-American boy,” he said. “That’s what Josh said too.”

Actually doing the painting had its share of obstacles.

“The first day he came out to work was a day it was pouring down rain,” Curry said, chuckling.

It took Wilson, plus a few helpers, three Saturdays in September to paint the fence.

The American Village will be the site of quite a few more Boy Scout projects in the months to come, Curry said.

Another local boy has raised enough money to pay for a historic marker for the Village’s colonial chapel, while two other Boy Scout projects are in the planning stages.

“It’s beginning to look like (the Village) may be a ground for Scouts to do their community service projects,” Curry said. “With America being a country with the spirit of volunteerism, that’s what Scouts are all about. We’re quite happy to help them out with their Scout projects and they’re helping us out at the same time.”