The Beaumont Botanical Gardens got a solid addition to an already beautiful scenic area in Tyrrell Park after a local Eagle Scout built and donated three stone benches in the park’s pond area.
Caleb Hughes, 16, of Beaumont’s Troop 117 at Trinity United Methodist Church, built the three benches with the help of his stonemason grandfather, Conroy Hughes Jr., and said the project was a much-needed addition to the park, which was badly damaged after Hurricane Ike.
“A lot of kids, to take a seat, were getting right up on the edge of the water,” Caleb said. “I saw that maybe that wasn’t too good of a place to be sitting, so we came up with a plan to build them a little further back from the water, but to where you could still look out and see everything.”
Caleb used donated materials from Beaumont Brick and Home Depot to build the benches, which match stones that surround the park’s pond.
Having started in the Boy Scouts as a Tiger Cub in the first grade, Caleb — an avid fisherman — said his rise to eagle wasn’t without its ups and downs.
“Whenever I was a younger Boy Scout, we had kitchen duty one day. Now, I love fishing. They were all wondering where I was,” he said. “They noticed my fishing pole was missing, and they caught me down by the lake fishing.”
There wasn’t much time for fishing at the Botanical Gardens, however. Each stone bench has a single stone seat weighing hundreds of pounds.
“One of the big difficulties was the top of the bench,” Caleb said. “The flagstone piece that went on each one weighed like 200 to 300 pounds. So, we had to get help from the garden employees. Luckily, they got their tractor and we were able to lift it up with that.”
The West Brook High School junior said he’s not sure what he’ll do after high school, but he’s interested in mechanics at Lamar University.
“What I really want to do is try to get in the automotive field,” he said. “Mechanic or engineer maybe.”
Bev Flosi, director of the botanical gardens, said the benches are a beautiful addition to the park’s pond. She said the sheer weight of each bench makes their permanence all the better.
“They’re gorgeous,” she said. “They won’t move. They have a solid rock top on them.”
Clay Thorp can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 222, or by e-mail at clay [at] theexaminer [dot] com.