Seventeen-year-old Stephen McKellep hopes to join the ranks of Bill Gates, Neil Armstrong, H. Ross Perot and Gerald R. Ford by summer. He’s working on his Eagle Scout Badge through the Boy Scouts of America. It’s the highest honor awarded in scouting.
McKellep, the son of David and Marsha McKellep of Upton, has planned a two-day electronics recycling or “eCycling” event with the assistance of Hodgenville’s Renaissance Recycling Center.
The LaRue County Maintenance Garage on Lincoln Blvd. across from LaRue County Middle School will accept obsolete and broken electronics 10 a.m.-6 p.m. April 18 and 25. Residents of other counties are invited to participate.
The home-schooled teen, a member of Troop 233 in Elizabethtown, got the idea for eCycling when he noticed several old televisions left on the side of the road. He attributes the dumping to the digital television conversion mandated by June 12 – a law that rendered some older televisions obsolete without the use of a converter box.
“We don’t have a facility in LaRue County to deal with this,” he said.
He hopes the convenient drop-off site will encourage people to recycle – not dump – their old televisions, cell phones, computers and fax machines.
The “e-waste” will be trucked to a recycling center in Frankfort.
McKellep will not profit from the endeavor – except as a step toward his Eagle Scout badge.
It’s not the first time he’s volunteered in a recycling project. Jill Gray, manager of Renaissance Recycling and solid waste coordinator for LaRue County, described the McKellep family as “avid recyclers” who have assisted her several times.
McKellep’s brothers, Anthony, 15, and Joseph, 10, who are also in scouting, and the rest of the troop will assist him with the project.
“I’m glad to have this as an Eagle Scout project,” Gray said. “It’s a great way for the kids to help the community.”
Troop leader Mike Robinson said McKellep has “several hoops to go through” before obtaining the badge, including a stack of paperwork and a thorough interview with a review board.
“He’ll do great,” said Robinson. “He’s very bright. His thrill of scouting and the fun he has (with it) just really comes through when you talk to him.”
“He’s probably the most optimistic person I’ve ever met in my life,” he added.
McKellep, an employee at McDonald’s in Glendale, plans to attend Elizabethtown Community and Technical College for two years and transfer to Western Kentucky University. He’d like to work in radio broadcasting.
To earn the Eagle Scout rank, a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in leadership, service and outdoor skills. Of the 120 merit badges available, 21 must be earned to qualify for Eagle Scout. Twelve badges are required.