Home turf means a lot to Hilliard Eagle Scout Redwan Kamel
Since he was a Boy Scout in the sixth grade, Redwan Kamel has done his part to keep Hilliard's Hayden Run Village Park on Davidson Road looking clean and manicured.
Now 18, the Hilliard resident, who graduated this year from Metro Early College High School in northwest Columbus, continues to give back to the community where he was born and raised .
"(Through Boy Scouts), I learned to give back (and) want to keep doing that," Kamel said.
Kamel spent most of his childhood enrolled in Hilliard City Schools. He attended Britton and J.W. Reason elementary schools, Tharp Sixth Grade School and Weaver Middle School before electing, as a Davidson High School student, to attend Metro Early College High School on Kenny Road. He also was a member of Davidson's varsity soccer team and participated on the Wildcats' wrestling and track teams.
His mother said his dedication started as a Cub Scout.
"As a single parent, I wanted my (oldest) son to build character, so I placed him in (Cub) Scouts," said Karen Clark, 48.
As a Boy Scout, Kamel began picking up litter at Hayden Run Village Park with other Scouts, but he chose to take his effort to another level.
"He saw 'adopt-a-park' signs for organizations that volunteer to keep other parks clean and wanted to do that at Hayden Run Village Park," Clark said.
The park is just south of where the family lives in Avery Estates off Avery Road and near Davidson High School, she said.
"But we learned from the city that only organizations and businesses can participate in (an adopt-a-park) program," she said.
So Kamel started a business.
While he was at Weaver, Kamel enrolled in a privately instructed class teaching entrepreneurial skills, Clark said.
There, Kamel established a push-cart business called Redwan's Egyptian Ice and obtained a permit from the city to use the pushcart and sell products at Hilliard's Station Park.
Kamel was born in Egypt but came to the United States as an infant, Clark said. His siblings are Yasmeen, 14, Asalah, 12, and Rahim, 9, whom Kamel is mentoring in Scouting.
The family worked together Aug. 15 to install flowers at the park's entrance sign at the northwest corner of Avery and Davidson roads.
It was just the latest effort to keep the park looking as sharp as the nearby backyards of residences, Kamel said.
The sign at Hayden Run Village Park advises visitors that Little Jimmy's Italian Ices adopted the park; it is the franchise that Kamel purchased several years ago and used as the vehicle to adopt the park, rebranding as Redwan's Egyptian Ice while also gaining use of the company's name, logo and products.
Kamel, who is a member of Troop 418 of the Boy Scouts of America, earned the rank of Eagle Scout earlier this year, the highest rank an active Scout can achieve. Age 18 is the maximum age for active Boy Scouts.
Kamel made and installed a flag-retirement box at the American Legion's William R. Schnug Memorial Post 614, 4579 Avery Road.
Clark is an auxiliary member of Memorial Post 614, and her grandfather, Leroy Scranton, was a U.S. Army veteran and a past commander of the post.
"Redwan came to me with the idea," said Tom Rowe, commander of Memorial Post 614. "He presented his idea to the members, and we were fully behind it. We are proud to have the retirement box and proud of his effort."
Residents have been using the box, he said.
Since it was built in July, Rowe said, he has filled two 55-gallon drums with flags to be retired.
Each drum contains about 50 to 60 flags, he said.
Anyone may leave a flag in the box, which is in the parking lot, at any time, Rowe said.
"We check it two or three times a week," he said.
Meanwhile, Kamel is taking the next steps in his life's journey, beginning online instruction at the Newark branch of Ohio State University.
"I want to become a mechanical engineer," Kamel said.