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Eagle Scout Project aims to support local animal shelter

BY TY BUTLER
STAR CORRESPONDENT
While many pet enthusiasts proudly advocate for better living conditions and improved animal shelters on social media platforms, 13-year-old Avery Padgett has decided to up the stakes and go the extra mile for our furry friends.
The Innovation Academy student recently set his mind toward funding the Elizabethton-Carter County Animal Shelter by hosting a food drive for cats at Elizabethton’s Petsense store on December 19.
The fundraiser will be from 10 a.m-4 p.m., however, individuals do not have to wait for the official date, as there is currently a bin set out for those who would like to support the cause.
Padgett, a progressing Boy Scout, constructed the Eagle Scout Project to qualify for Eagle Rank. But the project isn’t just a mere attempt to reach a higher status. Instead, Padgett has taken advantage of the opportunity to provide support for our feline companions, as well.
“It feels good to assist these animals, especially ones who need help,” said Padgett. “These pets are in need of an adoption and some of them have been here for a really long time. The shelter needs supplies to be able to keep protecting the animals,” he added.
And though Padgett has recently taken on a heavy workload, his love for animals is all but new, as both of his parents are established veterinarians in the East Tennessee area. From a very young age, Padgett has been aware of the hardships that shelters face when trying to provide stability for young and full-grown animals.
“While these cats are in the shelter, we want them to have the best lives possible. Honestly, there are a lot of animal shelters who need help. These organizations are non-profit, and they need assistance getting adoptions and food,” Padgett said.
Padgett also assembled a separate fundraiser in an effort to raise money for cat trees — an item which the animal shelter desperately needs. Individuals can send photos of their pets to the PetSense store, where the pictures will be placed on Valentine’s Day cards. All funds will go directly toward equipment to build the cat trees.
While the middle schooler has proven to wear many hats, spending time on numerous projects, his main vision remains clear.
“The end goal is to try and help the shelter keep as many cats as possible, while protecting and getting them homes… That is the main goal,” Padgett said.