Scout’s honor: City airport benefits from Eagle project

For his Eagle Scout project, Jay Burns, 16, helped replace the Clovis Municipal Airport sign. Burns said his main role in the project was working with architects, local business owners and contractors. (Staff photo: Sharna Johnson)

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer

Looking for a sign?

Clovis Municipal Airport needed a new one. Eagle Scout Jay Burns needed a project.

The result is a red brick, angular sign, which features two square columns and white reflective lettering simply stating “Clovis Municipal Airport.”

Burns, a Clovis High School sophomore, said he began scouting “as early as possible,” which means he started when he was 6. Now 16, Burns said his family always expected him to follow through and achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. “My dad was an Eagle Scout,” he said.

According to, the Eagle Scout rank is the highest advancement rank in scouting. A Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service and outdoor skills.

Burns said he actively sought a project that would fulfill the necessary requirements. “I have two big passions in life,” Burns said. “I wanted to base my project on one of them.”

According to the honor student who maintains a 4.250 grade-point average, those passions are animals and flying. Burns said he approached the Clovis Animal Shelter first but came away empty-handed as far as project ideas were concerned. “They just didn’t really need anything,” Burns said.

His next stop was the Clovis Municipal Airport in August of 2004. “I love planes,” Burns said. “So, any reason I could find to be around them was good.” Burns said he was pleased to discover that Airport Director Stephen Summers had already procured a $3,000 grant to replace the existing airport sign.

Summers said he had been trying to replace the previous sign because it had been repeatedly vandalized. “It was over 20 years old,” Summers said. “It was time for a new one.”

Summers, who has been employed as airport director for over a decade, said the previous sign was only lettered on one side. Travelers headed west couldn’t read it. “Now people traveling in both directions can see the entrance,” Summers said.

Burns said his main role in the project was working with architects, local business owners and contractors to come up with an attractive sign. “I actually had nothing to do with the design,” Burns said. “I was just a tool to get this project completed.”

The Clovis native said the Eagle Scout project taught him a lot about working with adults. “Everyone I worked with was really, really pleasant,” Burns said. “They all treated me like an adult.”

Summers said he believes the style of the sign represents the city well. “It reminds me of Clovis,” Summers said. “The color, brick and columns are similar to the architecture throughout Clovis.”

Burns said he thoroughly enjoyed the project but was relieved to have it completed. He plans to continue his scouting by mentoring younger boys through the process. “I would like to see more scouts achieve Eagle,” Burns said. “Right now the percentage is very low.”

Other than scouting, animals and planes, Burns said he enjoys science fairs and playing in the high school band. He said his future goal is to attend Notre Dame and pursue astronomical engineering.

“He is a good example of what an Eagle Scout should be,” Summers said.

The sign took approximately 16 months to complete and will be officially unveiled to the public with a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. today on Highway 523.