Eagle Scout project turns into family affair, spanning four generations



FARMINGTON — The Presbyterian Medical Services staff and volunteers had some extra help setting up for the 2017 Festival of Trees on Tuesday at the Farmington Civic Center.

About a dozen members of Farmington’s Boy Scout Troop 341 helped set up the rustic fence that is part of the display, which has received an upgrade, thanks to an Eagle Scout project by 14-year-old Darien Palmer.

Palmer spent the past few months — close to 300 hours, he said — rebuilding the bases for and adding length to the wooden fence that lines the community-decorated trees for the annual holiday festival.
The project began with Palmer’s great-grandmother, Joyce Mills, who has been part of the festival’s planning committee since PMS started hosting it 15 years ago. Mills said she knew the fence needed some work this year and that Palmer was involved in the Boy Scouts, which emphasizes community service, especially in earning the highest rank of Eagle Scout.

Mills said she didn’t know that Palmer was working on earning his Eagle Scout status, but she knew he was involved in Boy Scouts and hoped he could put her in touch with someone interested in working on a project after the need for some fence work was brought up at a planning meeting for the Festival of the Trees.

“I knew that he was really involved in scouts and possibly would know some young man that would do that for us,” Mills said. “But then it came out that (Palmer) was working on his, so it all worked out beautifully.”


The 70 wooden fence posts with brand new bases and 140 wooden rails built and refurbished by Palmer will line more than 65 holiday items to be raffled off on Saturday. Melissa Sharpe, a co-chair of the festival’s committee, said there are 48 trees, 16 wreaths, three centerpieces and a handful of gingerbread houses that will be displayed at the annual event.

Each year, community groups such as churches, businesses, schools and families decorate a tree to donate to the Festival of Trees to be displayed and then raffled off. Benefits from the festival go directly back to PMS programs in Farmington, and Sharpe said the 2016 festival raised approximately $43,000.

Deb Cutler, the other festival committee co-chair, said community involvement has grown over the past few years. Not only did Troop 341 volunteer to help set up the festival, but Piedra Vista High School’s ROTC club will help break it down, and several groups, including a local dance troop and several school choirs, have offered to perform throughout the four-day festival.


“The more we do this, the more community support we get,” Cutler said. “… The community is just really embracing this event and that’s what makes it so important for this community.”

Traditional events will return for this year’s festival, including the Teddy Bear Storytime on Thursday morning and coffee break and happy hour events on Friday morning and evening, respectively. Family night, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Thursday.

The festival will be free and open to the public from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The raffle will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, but because the civic center’s auditorium is under construction, raffle winners will be notified via phone to collect their prizes before 2 p.m. Saturday, Mills said.

More information is available on Facebook at PMS Festival of Trees.

Megan Petersen covers business and education at The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or mpetersen@daily-times.com.

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