Nathan Jones of Stafford County earned the rank of Eagle Scout after leading a group of Boy Scouts, family and friends to complete a project designed to help prevent local drownings along the river Rappahannock. Nathan, a member of the 1717 Troop at Hartwood, chose to install two lifebuoy stations along the Stafford side of the Rappahannock River near historic Falmouth Harbor as part of his Eagle Scout service project.
The project continues a tradition started in 2014 by Troop 1717 who installed lifebuoys on the Falmouth and Fredericksburg sides of the river near the Highway 1 bridge. Severe flooding in 2020, however, swept away the buoy support. on the Falmouth side, prompting Nathan to step forward to replace him and add an additional lifebuoy station just down the road in the fisherman’s landing parking lot.
The new lifebuoy brackets are by design significantly more streamlined in the hope of increasing their longevity. In total, the project took approximately 186 person-hours to complete at no cost to Stafford County. Lifebuoys carry small, laminated plaques bearing the Scout Rescue slogan “Reach, Throw, Row, Go With Support” to remind future rescuers that going into the water to save someone is always the last resort.
The stands are also dedicated to Robert W. Eicher and Edward Samuel Goodnow, two Boy Scouts who drowned in 1917 while trying to save others. Their deaths have been historically identified as one of the catalysts that prompted the Boy Scouts of America to dramatically expand their swimming and lifesaving training requirements, reportedly leading to thousands of rescues. by drowning by Boy Scouts in the years that followed. More than 90 people have drowned in this area of Rappahannock since the late 1970s, when authorities began to follow.