Elk Point may soon have a new Eagle Scout. Matthew Norby has completed his project – a new sign at the Union County Museum. Now he needs to finish up the paperwork.

He knew he wanted to do something to help the museum.

“When I would drive by and I would see that old sign there, it just didn’t look good,” Norby said. “So I thought I could build a new sign that would look better for in front of the house, so people could see it from both ways.”

Norby reached out to Union County Historical Society board president Jerry Flannery, who said the board had been talking about a new sign that would draw more attention to their property. Norby and his father, Jeff, liked the sign at The Pointe Golf & Event Center, which was made by Aaladin. Norby met with an engineer at Aaladin and they worked out all the details.

Before any of that could happen, though, Norby had to start an Eagle Project Workbook, describing the project and how it would be accomplished. Some of the forms were quite detailed. Norby had to list every item he would use in building the sign, right down to the nuts and bolts. Then he presented it to the Eagle Scout Board in an hour-long Zoom meeting. They liked the idea and approved the project.

Norby had a list of materials – 6x6 posts, concrete, nuts and bolts and the white post sleeves that would match the sign to the museum’s main building. He and his family went shopping, but some of the items he needed were back ordered, like a lot of construction materials these days. That added several months to his completion date, but eventually, all the materials arrived.

He and his father, Jeff, dug the first post hole by hand. That was not easy.

“The first hole took us, like, three, four hours to dig it ourselves,” Norby said.

Flannery talked to Union County Electric Coop and they dug the second hole in considerably less time. Still, it took a while to complete.

Matthew Norby

Matthew Norby completed this sign for his Eagle Scout project.

“Over the course of three weekends, we just pecked away on it,” Jeff Norby said.

A big part of many Eagle projects is fundraising, but that wasn’t the case for Norby. The historical society had planned for a new sign and was ready to pay the entire cost. Jeff Norby thought his son could approach Aaladin, which has been generous in the community. Norby met with Chris Wingen at Aaladin.

“I thought about getting part of the sign donated, some kind of discount,” Norby said. “I was surprised when he said, ‘We’ll just gift the sign to you, free of charge.’”

Norby’s not done with his project quite yet. He has post-project paperwork to complete and another meeting with the Eagle Scout Board to set up, but he does have the 21 badges he needs for Eagle. The process needs to be completed within three months.

After he graduates next May, Norby plans to attend the University of South Dakota, but he’s not yet sure of his major.

He wanted to thank his family, mom and dad, Cara and Jeff for their help. He has two sisters, Yixian and Nikki, and his late brother, Alex.