In June of this year, Austin Honkomp organized a landscaping project outside Sheldon’s Prairie Museum, which is located at the intersection of 4th Avenue and 10th Street downtown. Austin’s mom, Michelle says that on June 7th Austin, along with 6 other members of Troop 155, along with 4 members of the Museum Board, spent the day updating the landscaping around the 106-year old building. She says that, while the landscaping work has been completed, they’re in the process of organizing a fundraiser to defray the costs involved.
The Sheldon Prairie Museum was originally built as the town’s library, and was constructed in 1908 with a $10,000 grant from the Carnegie Foundation, on the condition that the City of Sheldon agreed to build and maintain the structure. Then in 1969, the Sheldon Public Library moved across the street to their current location. During the next few years the building was used as office space for AEA4. In 1976, the Sheldon Historical Society was established, and the City of Sheldon gave them the option of using the building as a museum.
Currently the museum is governed by two separate Boards of Directors. The Museum Board is responsible for everything on the exterior of the building, with the Historical Society Board being responsible for everything inside.
The second project was spearheaded by Austin Anderson, and consisted of cleaning and refurbishing the Lockheed T-33 military jet that is on static display at the Sheldon Regional Airport. Austin says the project took place over a weekend in mid-July, and involved 16 people, including members of Troop 155, along with their parents. He said it involved cleaning, buffing and polishing the aircraft with electric buffers, and refurbishing some of the airplane’s graphics. Austin says the idea was developed with guidance of the Sheldon Sky-Hi Flyers Club.
Royd Chambers of Sheldon is a member of the 185th Air Refueling Wing of the Air National Guard, and told us that the aircraft, which began life as a Korean War era fighter plane, was converted for use as a trainer in the early 1950’s when the US government realized that it lacked the speed and agility to face off against the Chinese MIG fighters during the Korean Conflict. Chambers says that sometime in the mid-1960’s, the Sioux City Air Guard flew the plane into the Sheldon Airport, with a minimum amount of fuel, where the plane was decommissioned. The airmen then removed the plane’s engines, and returned with them to Sioux City. He says that in the mid-90’s the Air Force returned to Sheldon to conduct radon and asbestos removal from the aircraft, and to remove the explosive charge that was designed to jettison the plane’s canopy during a pilot ejection.
The plane is still actually owned by the Air Force, and there had been talk of the military removing it from the Sheldon airport because of it’s shabby condition. The Eagle Scout project brought the aircraft back into good condition, however, avoiding the removal of the aircraft, according to Anderson.
Troop 155 currently has another two scouts who are eligible for Eagle rank, and are in the process of selecting their required community service projects. The troop will also have another 5 scouts who will become eligible to try and qualify for Eagle rank in the summer of 2015.