Ojai Teen Shares Eagle Scout Award Ceremony With Friends at Continuing Care Center
On Friday June 15th, Jaxson Thomas walked into the stadium at Nordhoff High School for the last time as a high school student. Surrounded by his family, friends, mentors, teachers, and peers, the Ojai teen accepted his diploma in what was the final moment of a very successful high school career. But in a much quieter ceremony that took place a few weeks prior, Jaxson reached another significant milestone, one that he shared with his family and a few very close friends at the Continuing Care Center (CCC) at Ojai Valley Community Hospital (OVCH). In the courtyard of the CCC on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, Jaxson was presented with the Eagle Scout Award – a significant achievement that took him over six years and countless hours of service to accomplish.
In addition to his responsibilities as an AP student, varsity volleyball athlete, peer tutor, and President of the Rotary Interact Club, Jaxson spent hours every week volunteering his time at the CCC – Ojai Valley Community Hospital’s skilled nursing facility. Inspired by a family friend, Glen Morgan, Jaxson and the entire Thomas family began visiting the CCC when Jaxson was just a kid.
“Glen didn’t have much,” recalled Jaxson. “But he was always at the CCC spending time with the residents. He really did go above and beyond.” When Glen passed away, Jaxson decided to carry on his legacy.
Over the years, Jaxson said he learned a lot about history from the stories of the residents, but it’s the relationships he’s been blessed to be a part of that are the most treasured thing he’ll take away from his time there.
“I never would have thought that it’s possible to create friendships in such unexpected places,” he said. “My time at the CCC has taught me that you can truly make friends with anyone no matter who they are, what their situation is, or how old they are.” These relationships and the impact they had on him are the reason Jaxson chose to accept his Eagle Award surrounded by his friends at the CCC.
Jaxson is bound for Brigham Young University in Utah this fall where he plans to study General Engineering, with a special focus on Energy and Environmental Engineering. The life-long outdoor enthusiast has always been passionate about the earth and is looking forward to pursuing a career that will allow him to have a positive impact on the environment in a progressive and professional way. He is particularly interested in clean energy sources like solar and wind power. Although starting college means he won’t be a regular volunteer at the CCC anymore, Jaxson plans to visit as much as possible on when he returns home for holidays and breaks.
“When I had my Eagle Court of Honor at the CCC, my Dad asked me to say a few words,” Jaxson said. “That’s when it hit me that I’m leaving and I got emotional thinking about all these people I’ve spent so many years with.”
“Jaxson has really made a difference in the lives of our residents at the CCC,” said Kris Moffett, Activity Director at the Continuing Care Center. “He has become such a big part of their lives because he has made them a big part of his life throughout the years. They could not have been more proud to see him receive his Eagle Scout award and his thoughtfulness to include them in such a special presentation was heartwarming.”
Jaxson hopes that his service will inspire others to share their time as well. “I’m really grateful for the opportunity,” he said. “I hope that other people can volunteer as well because I’m honestly a different person because of my experiences at the CCC. I want others to have those life-changing experiences as well.”
If you’re interested in volunteering at the Continuing Care Center, please call 805/640-2880.