Equine Rescue of Aiken will be a better place thanks to some industrious Boy Scouts. They are painting and adding walls to a run-in shed in one of Equine Rescue's paddocks, as well as painting a storage building.


Christopher Davis, 17, is in charge of a crew that is helping him complete his Eagle Scout service project. He is a member of St. Mary Help of Christians Parish's Troop 115.


On Tuesday morning, five Boy Scouts, two Venture Scouts and Jack Morris, a Troop 115 assistant scoutmaster, were busy wielding brushes, cutting boards with a circular saw and performing other tasks.


“An Eagle Scout project needs to help the community,” Davis said. “This seemed like the ideal place to do it because my family likes horses a lot. My mother knew about Equine Rescue, and she had a couple of connections here.”


Davis is a graduate of the South Carolina National Guard's Youth ChalleNGe Academy.


He wants to attend college and serve in the Air Force.


“This is a group effort,” Davis said. “I've helped a lot of the other people that are here with their projects.”


Davis and his fellow Scouts began working at Equine Rescue of Aiken on Monday, and they expect to be finished by the end of the week.


The service project that an Eagle Scout candidate must complete to earn the Boy Scouts of America's highest advancement rank is a major commitment.


“The Scout who wants to become an Eagle has to totally plan the project and do a description of all the tools and the materials required,” Morris said. “He has to come up with and coordinate a team of other Scouts, so it's an opportunity to practice supervision. He also has to do fundraising to solicit money for the project.”


Statistics compiled by the Boy Scouts of America show that only about 6 percent of all Boy Scouts earned the Eagle Scout rank in 2013.


“We've had seven or eight Eagle Scouts in our troop in the past six years, and we are very proud of every single one of them,” Morris said.


Founded in 2006, Equine Rescue of Aiken cares for and finds homes for abandoned horses, retired racehorses and unwanted dogs. The organization's 90-acre farm, which is located on Glenwood Drive, also is a satellite facility for Saratoga WarHorse. Based in New York, Saratoga WarHorse offers a three-day program for military veterans that involves interacting and bonding with retired Thoroughbred racehorses.


Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since January 2013.