Durham's history will not be lost thanks to the effort of Boy Scout Samuel Gossner.
The Durham teen was awarded scouting's higest honor — the Eagle Scout rank — at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony held at the Durham Public Library on Saturday, Nov. 10.
A member of Troop 33 of Middlefield, Gossner created a searchable database for the Durham Historical Society for his Eagle Scout project. Through a grant from the Coginchaug Valley Education Foundation, Gossner was able to purchase a computer and personally cataloged about 200 items.
"A lot of our collection remains in boxes because of lack of space. Now, rather than going to those boxes we can just pull up that database to see what we have," said Sarah Atwell, the society's president.
Atwell presented Gossner with a walking stick, telling him it was "to help you on the rest of your journey."
Atwell was the recipient of the Eagle Scout's Mentor pin, which is given to an individual who helps or encourages a scout during the process of earning their Eagle Scout rank.
Durham First Selectman Laura Francis thanked Gossner for helping preserve the town's history and presented him with an American flag that flew over Washington, DC.
Sam is the son of Mark and Tina Gossner of Durham. The Coginchaug senior is also an accomplished musician and composer. He joined the Boy Scouts in the first grade and has collected 30 Boy Scout badges along the way.
"Scouting has left a huge impact on my life," Gossner said. "I'm one of those people who when I say I'm going to exercise it means I'm going to take a hike, not lift weights. Or it means I'm going to go do community service or put in a fence somewhere, or help someone with their project."
Troop 33 Scoutmaster Robin Heath presented Gossner with his Eagle Scout award in the company of other members of the troop, elected officials and family and friends.