- Associated Press - Sunday, May 21, 2017

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) - John Decator was around 2 years old when he first started playing on the old train that rests inside the Marysville City Park.

Now, the 14-year-old is leading efforts to restore the beloved landmark as his Eagle Scout Service Project.

“I’ve been around the train my whole life,” said John, a Marysville resident. “It was getting kind of worn down and I thought it might be a good idea to work on.”

The Times Herald (http://bwne.ws/2qKqueH ) reports that successful completion of the project will help John graduate from Boy Scout status to an Eagle Scout.

His father, Dennis Decator, said the teen had been talking about fixing up the train, which was donated to the park by Detroit Edison in the 1950s, since he was about 8.

“When he announced he wanted to do that when he was a Cub Scout, I was surprised because I knew that would be a big project,” Decator said. “However, having watched him talk to companies and talk to the city and residents … Never sell your kids short - they can do far more than you think.”

In checking out what work the train would need, John found that the paint on the train, which has been chipping for years, contained lead.

John then coordinated with the City of Marysville, who had professionals come in to strip the lead paint from the train. A primer has also been applied and the train will be repainted next weekend.

John has recruited about 15 to 20 other Boy Scouts to help him repaint the train May 20-21 weekend.

“I will be making it look like how it originally did,” John said.

While John did not handle the lead paint, which is hazardous to health, he has been working on some of the other needed repairs prior to the repainting weekend.

There are spots on the train where the metal has rusted away, leaving jagged holes. John spent his Friday after school working on patching those holes with fiberglass.

“It feels pretty good,” he said. “It feels like I’m really helping out the city that I live in and so everyone can enjoy it.”

The teen will also be adding new traction inside the tenders.

“I’m adding a little bit of traction because I know when people are on it and it rains, it can get slippery,” he said. “It might help safety. Safety can actually make it look better.”

New Detroit Edison labels will also be applied to the train.

The whole planning process, which started back in October and was approved by the troop committee in March, has been educational, John said.

To carry out the project, John has received a $4,000 donation from a local business that covers the cost of the paint and he raised $2,800 for the primer, the fiberglass repairs and personal protection equipment.

“I’m learning many new things during this: how to talk to media, I’ve gotten better at talking to city leaders, I’ve gotten better at planning,” John said. “This is definitely the biggest project I’ve ever completed.”

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Information from: Times Herald, http://www.thetimesherald.com

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