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Boy Scout brothers up for service awards

Three South Kitsap brothers who have each done their part to nurture the local environment have been nominated for a state award that recognizes people who are dedicated to serving their community.

Eighteen-year-old twins Jon and Andy Gallent, seniors at South Kitsap High School, and their older brother Jarrett, 19, were nominated as a trio to receive Jefferson Awards, which honor people who have shown “special dedication, sacrifices and significant accomplishments” when it comes to community involvement.

The boys’ father, Jim Gallent, said all three of the teens have been Boy Scouts — in Troop 1528 — most of their lives, and their awareness of nature and its needs sprouted early on.

“They’re very in tune with their environment,” Gallent said of his sons, explaining that in addition to their recent Eagle Scout projects, they have participated in annual events such as the Sinclair Inlet Earth Day Cleanup, where volunteers scour local beaches for trash.

“I don’t think we’ve missed a year,” he said.

Gallent said he doesn’t know who nominated his sons for the award, but he knows exactly what the boys have contributed, especially for each teen’s Eagle Scout project. (So far, he said Jarrett earned the rank of Eagle Scout, while Jon and Andy are currently candidates.)

Gallent said Jarrett’s project involved improving a highway turnaround on State Route 166 near Gorst.

“He took an ugly-looking turnaround and planted like 400-plus plants and a couple of small trees,” Gallent said, explaining that his son worked with the Washington State Department of Transportation and Kitsap County on the project.

Jon’s project was “beautification” of to the entrance to the U.S. Navy Missouri Gate, which he said was known as the “Gateway to Bremerton” and was near more shoreline of Sinclair Inlet.

Both Jon and Jarrett worked with Bob Barnes, a landscape architect with the Washington State Department of Transportation, who described the teens’ work on their projects as “rigorous effort.”

As for Andy, he worked with Bill Thiele from the city of Port Orchard’s Public Works Department to build two large planter boxes — 25 feet long and four feet wide — that are now home to flowers along the city’s waterfront.

“He noticed people were just trampling through the flower garden,” Gallent said, explaining that Andy received a certificate of appreciation from Mayor Lary Coppola for the work.

“We are proud of all three of them,” Gallent said, explaining that he and his wife, Liz, think their sons learned valuable life lessons through their projects as well as helped their community and the environment.

“It gets them ready for life, and shows them how to overcome challenges and work with other people,” he said, adding that while Jon and Andy are both interested in pursuing a degree in business, their brother Jarrett is attending Olympic College and hopes to start an apprenticeship at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

The five people selected to earn Jefferson Award medallions will be announced at a luncheon in Seattle Tuesday. The awards, sponsored this year by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Microsoft Corp., have honored community involvement in Washington state since 1977.

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