Local Boy Scout Josh Kay recently had a lightbulb moment.

To earn his Eagle Scout Rank, Kay decided to organize a project to install new energy efficient LED lights in the gymnasium at the Greene Center in Southern Jackson County.

He called the project “Lighting the Way.”

Kay is a member of Troop 419 in Kenna, which had been helping with various cleanup and repair projects to convert the former Kenna Elementary School into the Greene Center.

The Southern Jackson County Community Foundation oversees operation of the center. It has taken a lot of volunteer effort – including personnel and supplies – to a create a space that can be used by the entire community, foundation president Ann Greene Parsons said.

“When you think back to where we were last year, we’ve accomplished a lot,” she said.

The Jackson County Commission – consisting of Dick Waybright, Mike Randolph, and Mitch Morrison – have also been great supporters of the Greene Center, Parsons said.

As part of his project, Kay raised the funds, purchased the fixtures, and assisted a certified electrician from Wright Electric in installing the lights. Kay installed 11 new 132-watt fixtures to replace the severely antiquated 400-watt lights that had been there for years.

The Greene Center was a worthwhile project that will benefit the entire community, Kay said. It seemed natural to center his Eagle Scout project around it.

“It’s such a great thing they’re doing here,” Kay said. “It feels good to not only help the community, but also to help save them money.”

The upgrade will save the Southern Jackson Community Foundation thousands of dollars in the long run, Parsons said. The Greene Center has to be self-sufficient and Kay’s Eagle Scout Project will make that easier, she said.

“I think this was just a wonderful project for the Greene Center and the entire community. We’re going to have to be self-supporting, and this will greatly reduce our utility costs,” Parsons said.

In addition to being a Scout, Kay was a captain of the Ripley Viking football team during the 2018 season, during which the team made it to the playoffs. His father, Jason, is Scoutmaster for Troop 419.

Parsons said she believes other up-and-coming Eagle Scouts will take their cues from Kay’s “bright idea.” After all, the center could still use new lighting in the hallways and classrooms.