When 17-year-old Austin Raymond came across the International Boundary Marker in eastern Panola County, he knew he had to do something to fix it up.
He decided cleaning up the this unique piece of history would be the perfect project to help him become an Eagle Scout.
“The cool thing about it is it’s the only international boundary marker in the whole country,” Raymond said. “That’s the only thing of its kind, because it was put there as the Republic of Texas to designate what was the country of Texas and what was the United States. And that’s the only thing that’s been preserved signifying the republic of Texas as boundary marker.”
Raymond came across the marker after a camping trip with his Scouts troop. On the way back, they decided to check out the marker and found that it was surrounded by trash, the fence was torn up, and there was even a needle sticking out of the ground by it.
“It was crazy,” he said. “Once I saw it, I was like, something has to be done with this. This is is not okay. Even if it wasn’t an Eagle project, something had to be done with that.”
Raymond, who lives in Gladewater and attends Sabine High School, has been in the Scouts since he was 11. In order to become an Eagle Scout, one has to complete an Eagle project, and after writing a proposal and getting approval from a high up in the Scouts and from Kay Mauritzen, head of the Panola County Historical Commission, Raymond was able to make a plan and execute it to clean up the boundary marker.
He took a team of eight people, assigning them different tasks such as picking up trash, painting, wire brushing the fence, and cleaning the historical marker.
While Raymond and his group were working, a group of bikers showed up. They had decided to come check out the marker during their trail.
“They talked to us for a minute, and we got to know each other, it was really cool,” he said “They just wanted to check out the spot, and actually we found out that two of them were Eagle Scouts, so that was pretty cool. They were really proud of me, and it was a pretty cool thing that happened. Wasn’t expecting it.”
Raymond is happy to have been able to do this.
“It didn’t look like it was being taken care of whatsoever, so it was just awesome to be the person that actually cleaned up this historical marker, to be someone who helped history, even if it’s not going to be recognized all in history, the fact that I can tell myself I did that,” he said. “And this will help me further my career as an Eagle Scout, and to help Carthage and Texas as a whole; that’s just an amazing feeling.”