Eagle Scout’s project could save lives on the water

BELLBROOK, Ohio (WDTN) — An Eagle Scout’s project is making a splash on the Little Miami River.

When traveling down the river through parts of Greene County, a common name will appear on the signs hanging just under the bridge.

It reads “Connor Campbell,” a longtime friend of the Eagle Scout who helped put the signs up there.

“Connor was one of my really good friends and I had a hard time choosing what to do,” said Cordonnier said, speaking of his Eagle Scout project. “I knew this would really impact his family a lot and it would help the community at the same time.”

It was Connor’s idea years ago to begin putting signs under bridges to help people on the water know where they were going.

Sadly, he wouldn’t see his dream become reality. In 2010, a day before his first camp as a Boy Scout, the 11-year-old died at home after a long battle with heart complications.

Years later, Cordonnier, a junior at Bellbrook High School, has helped his idea comes to life. It is potentially saving lives, too.

“People coming down this river do not know where they’re at,” said Chief Marvin Moeller with the Spring Valley Township Fire Department. “They see a bridge. They don’t know what road they are going by.”

It has been a longtime problem firefighters have been trying to fix.

In July, the Spring Valley Fire Department, along with mutual aid, spent nearly an hour trying to rescue thirteen people on the river. Most of that time was spent trying to find those people.

Moeller believes the signs will save precious time.

“It sometimes can cut 15 to 20 minutes from a response time for us,” said Moeller. “We’ll know exactly where to go. We’ll know which jurisdiction to call.”

During a special ceremony on Tuesday at a meeting for the Little Miami River Kleeners, Cordonnier was honored for his project to help people on the river.

Connor’s family also attended.

“I can see him living on and being proud with what Nathan is doing,” said Jill Campbell, Connor’s mother, about how her son’s memory is being honored. “That’s more important.”

Years after the idea was first sparked by Connor, Cordonnier has brought it to life.

The signs honor a young explorer by helping others safely discover the world around them.

“It’s been a long time that we’ve been working on it,” said Cordonnier. “I’m very proud. I think it’s really cool.”

Signs have only been posted underneath Greene County bridges so far. Moeller said the goal is to get signs underneath bridges owned by the state, too.

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