- Ada, Oklahoma

Local News

May 25, 2014

Eagle Scout project refurbishes cemetery

Ada — ADA - Recently recognized Eagle Scout Shannon Hysten begins his senior year at Ada High School in the fall. He turns 17 in August.

 He doesn’t have a car, a driver's license or a girlfriend. What he does have is the ability to walk to and from school and a job at McDonalds, where he has been employed for the last 14 months. He has a title as shift leader and a new position as shift manager awaiting him when he turns 18, should he decide to accept it. He also has a cell phone that he bought with his own money. He pays for the minutes he accumulates with income he earns.

 More importantly, when it came time to select his project to become an Eagle Scout, he decided he wanted to honor U.S. war veterans — some of whom are buried at Ada Cemetery.

 When he was shown the cemetery, where some of his own relatives are buried, he was shocked to find beer and pop cans, bottles, worn-out plastic flowers and tripods that once held wreaths but were now blown about in disarray.

 He cleaned it up.

 It took 20 plastic bags and his uncle's pickup truck to haul away all the trash.

 The veterans graves, and the graves of people they once fought for to preserve Americans’ freedom, are carefully tended to this Memorial Day in the best cemetery tradition — evidence that someone still cares — a teenager at that.

 That may sound old school, but it turns out, all those high-priced toys can be turned off to offer teenagers a chance to give of themselves.

Hysten’s proud parents, aunts and uncles watched the Troop 4 ceremony last Saturday at First Christian Church, where he and seven other scouts (see page 8B) were awarded their hard-earned Eagle Scout recognition by Troop 4 Scoutmaster Angus McFarland.

“They want him to be somebody people can trust and a person who is helpful in the community,” said his uncle, Tyrone Frazier.

“We're all hands-on with the kids,” Frazier said. “They don't come home and get on the TV and games. They work and wash the dishes.”

His uncle likes to take his nephews’ tube fishing when he can.

 Hysten eventually wants to go to college and possibly study genetics. Someday, he will have his own wheels to go with his own job.

He's already learned the first secret to success — being of service to others.

Asked how he found ways to help, Hysten said, “I like to walk, and sometimes while I'm out I see people I think need help, like elderly women trying to pull weeds out of their gardens. I just get a hoe or a shovel and start helping.”

 His parents are Aretha and Duane Hysten. His mother is employed by Legal Shield and his father works at Ada Junior High cafeteria.

 When his parents are working, his uncle helps get Hysten to and from the few places he can’t readily get to on his own feet.

 This work ethic didn’t happen by accident, or even through scouting — at least not entirely. Hysten learned about respect and hard work at an early age.

 He has an older brother, Sidney, who earned Eagle Scout status to help pave the way. Sidney plans to attend Spartan School of Aviation in Tulsa in the fall.

 He also has a younger brother, Sheldon, who graduated from Ada Junior High last Wednesday.

 What Hysten's got in abundance is a loving family and an appreciative community this Memorial Day.

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