Photo courtesy of Neils & Susan Anderson
Children from Guam show off the books they have received through the efforts of Jacob Harris of Blackfoot, who collected them as his Eagle Scout project.
BLACKFOOT â€” Jacob Harris of Troop 235 knew what he wanted to do for his Eagle Scout project.
"I wanted to do something for kids," he said.
He found the ideal project when Neils and Susan Anderson, who are serving an LDS Church mission in Guam, told him the school children needed books.
So, with the help of family, friends and some fellow Scouts, he began collecting books. "I wanted children's books, but I got some young adult books for older kids."
Those books came from collection boxes at the Morning News, the Blackfoot City Library and the Snake River Library.
Susan Anderson was a longtime employee at the Snake River Library.
"They contributed a tremendous amount," Harris said of that library's patrons.
"We collected more than we ever thought we would," Harris' mother Katie said.
"We collected over 600 books and put them in boxes," he said. "We wanted to find the cheapest way possible to send them so we checked with the military and some other ways but we found the cheapest way was through the post office."
When the books arrived in Guam, the missionaries and residents took some by boat to a village away from the population centers. They carried them a mile to an elementary school.
"We were told there was a storm and the people in the boat and the boxes were soaked, but the books were fine," Harris said.
According to the Andersons, the literacy rate in Guam is quite low. The missionaries are using the books to help the students learn English.
"It was a lot of work, but when I got the pictures of the kids with their books, that made it worth it, Harris said.
Harris said he will receive his award after he completes his paperwork.
Harris is the son of Jonathan and Katie Harris. His troop is sponsored by the Blackfoot First Ward. He is a sophomore at Blackfoot High School.