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4/12/2011
Boy Scout kept momentum for road sign from flagging - News Journal

I first heard about it in 2008," Chris said, when he and his dad went to a Brandywine Hundred oral history event hosted by County Councilman Bob Weiner and James Hanby Sr., a magistrate and preservation activist.

By then, Weiner had put in a proposal for the sign, as had the Department of Special Services. But they sat idle as Chris, of Troop 67 and Springer Middle School, made the naming his project for a Community merit badge.

Boy Scout kept momentum for road sign from flagging
Written by ROBIN BROWN The News Journal 

A decades-old idea became reality Sunday with the help of a Boy Scout who, along the way, got a lesson not only in Delaware history and heritage, but also in the inertia of government.

At the unveiling of a sign marking the lane to Talley Day Park and the Brandywine Hundred Library as J. Harlan Day Drive, Chris Durgin, 13, was hailed as "the Scout who made it happen."

The idea to name the road for Day, who sold the land for the park to the county, began with the 1975 sale, and was revived when Day died in 1981.

"I first heard about it in 2008," Chris said, when he and his dad went to a Brandywine Hundred oral history event hosted by County Councilman Bob Weiner and James Hanby Sr., a magistrate and preservation activist.

By then, Weiner had put in a proposal for the sign, as had the Department of Special Services. But they sat idle as Chris, of Troop 67 and Springer Middle School, made the naming his project for a Community merit badge.

County Executive Paul G. Clark said the sign idea was brought to his attention when he took office and he immediately approved its installation.

No explanation has surfaced for why the idea took 36 years.

"It shouldn't have taken so long," Clark said, adding the sign honoring the historic Day family is the start of more recognition. A local history section soon will be created in the library, he said.

Hanby, the master of ceremonies at Sunday's unveiling, praised the teen -- whose great-grandfather's name is on the sign.

"Through this whole process, Chris has kept everyone's feet to the fire," Hanby said. "He has contacted numerous elected officials at both the state and county level to get this project completed. When others of us let it drop off the radar screen, it was Chris who again brought focus to the mission we here today are completing."

Octogenarian John William Day Sr., son of the sign's namesake, said there were times he didn't think he'd live to see the sign. "I'm very happy," he said, shaking Chris's hand. "Thank you."

John Day's friend John Stewart, 82, said, "I love it. ... Mr. Day would be so proud, he really would."

But John Day gazed at the sign and said, "Mabel. It should have said 'Mabel and J. Harlan Day Drive.' My mother sacrificed just as much as my father did."

Write to robin brown at The News Journal, Box 15505, Wilmington, DE 19850; fax 324-5509; call 324-2856; or e-mail rbrown@delawareonline.com.

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"Iíd like to express my appreciation to Councilman Bob Weiner who exhibits strength, determination and fortitude and is always on the side of the people. I followed Bobís actions when he was head of CCOBH's zoning committee and made strong efforts to try to stop the Brandywine Town Center construction. He has continued with energy and zeal in many pivotal positions in spite of enduring a lot of negative professional and personal attacks. I appreciate that he is never deterred."

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