Barnes soars like an Eagle with dugout painting project at Papermill Field

Brandon Barnes, 13, of Westfield, right, and his father, Matt, paint the dugouts at Papermill Field during a project for Brandon’s quest to achieve Eagle Scouts for the Boy Scouts of America. (BARNES FAMILY PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – Christmas may be just a few days away, but one former Westfield Little Leaguer gave ball players and local sports fans alike the ultimate gift to be thankful for this holiday season.
Brandon Barnes, 13, of Westfield spent more than 60 hours this past fall refurbishing the Little League Baseball dugouts at Papermill Field – – several other volunteers donated some 240 hours of their collective time – – as part of his quest to achieve Eagle Scout, the highest rank bestowed to scouts in the Boys Scouts of America.
“I played Little League,” Barnes said, “so I wanted to give back to the league.”
Barnes began Little League Baseball around the age of eight, playing for Expert Fitness, Teddy Bear Pools, Green Meadow Lumber and Commercial Distributing before becoming an American All-Star pitcher, catcher, and shortstop a year ago.
Barnes said he enjoyed pitching the most, explaining that it was most “fun when having a good day. It makes the game go by faster.”
This past summer, Barnes made his debut in the Greater Westfield Babe Ruth Baseball League, playing for The Batter’s Box.
Although his Little League experience was already behind him, Barnes felt he wanted to something special to help him in his quest for Eagle Scout.
“I had a great experience (playing baseball) and wanted to give back to Little League,” Barnes aid. I want the kids in the future of Little League to (have a similar time).”
This past fall, Barnes organized the project, rounding up family members, members from his local church, and other scouts and their families to donate their time. Barnes led this team of volunteers, coordinating their efforts. Together, they swept the dugouts, applied TSP to de-grease, de-gloss and completely clean the walls; pained the inside of the dugouts grey and the outside red before repositioning the benches.
The Lumber Center on Broad Street donated the paint.
“It’s always something we wanted to do,” Westfield Little League president Scott LaBombard told Barnes during a recent video shoot, showcasing the ball player’s efforts. “I’m really happy he did it. Time is one of the best gifts that you can five.
LaBombard told Barnes he hopes that one day in the future he will consider coming back as a Little League coach, umpire or volunteer.

Brandon Barnes, 13 of Westfield, left, stands alongside Westfield Little League President Scott Labombard, right, in front of the newly painted dugouts at Papermill Field. (BARNES FAMILY PHOTO)

Barnes became a Cub Scout as a kindergartner and continued that path until fifth grade when he became a Boy Scout. For the last three years, he has participated in several outdoor activities like camping, kayaking, and rock wall climbing, all while adhering to the scout’s oath of doing his best “to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
For those unfamiliar with the Scout Law, it states that “a Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”
The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the value of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
To earn the Eagle Scout rank, a Boy Scout must complete 21 merit badges that focus on things such as first aid; community, national and world citizenship; cooking, personal fitness, emergency preparedness or lifesaving; environmental science or sustainability; personal management; swimming, hiking, or cycling; camping; and family life.
Barnes has already completed all 21 and more, and is now focused on completing his service project, which involved the dugout painting project at Papermill Field. He is currently in the process of completing the paperwork, going in front of a review board, and participating a scout-master conference before awaiting an official announcement, welcoming him as an Eagle Scout.
“It would mean a lot because I have spent a lot of time doing it,” Barnes said. “It is fun seeing how much I have grown and learned through this program.”

Former Little Leaguer and local Boy Scout, Brandon Barnes, right, and Westfield Little League President Scott LaBombard, left, stand at home plate in between the newly painted dugouts at Papermill Field. The project was completed this past fall, just weeks before the winter’s first snowfall blanketed the area. (BARNES FAMILY PHOTO)

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