New Albany, MS- Lewis Creekmore, of New Albany, has completed a unique Eagle Scout Service Project as part of his requirements to receive his Eagle Award. The Eagle Scout Service Project must benefit any religious institution, any school, or the scout’s community. As required to fulfill the project, the scout must demonstrate and develop leadership skills.
Creekmore’s Eagle Project was to build and donate five Bailey Chairs, three for the Veterinary School at Mississippi State University and two for the newly established Union County Humane Society. The Bailey Chair was designed by Donna and Joe Koch, the owner of a dog (Bailey) diagnosed with Megaesophagus. Bailey Chairs, which enable dogs with Megaesophagus to eat and digest their food properly, are making the lives of these pets and their families more comfortable everyday.
Megaesophagus, also known as ME, is a condition seen in humans, cats, dogs and horses where peristalsis fails to occur properly and the esophagus is enlarged. The condition is difficult to detect and diagnose, and the medical options are few. The muscles of the esophagus fail and it cannot propel food or water into the stomach. (It’s like a balloon that has been inflated several times and then hangs limp.) The result is that ingested food sits in the esophagus within the chest cavity, never making it to the stomach, and causing the animal to starve.
Lewis discovered the need for Bailey Chairs through his Aunt, Suzanne Medford, and her dog, Pink, who was being treated for ME at the Veterinary School at Mississippi State. Lewis’ Aunt Suzanne explained the routine that Pink was going through and the need for Bailey Chairs at the school. Pink and others were being fed in a makeshift Bailey Chair made of boxes.
Lewis took the idea of making Bailey Chairs for the Vet School and for the Union County Humane Society and presented it to the Troop 17 Scout Council. After Lewis educated the council about ME and the need for Bailey Chairs, the Council approved the project.
The Vet School at MSU is currently using its Troop 17 Bailey Chairs. The Union County Humane Society will loan out its Troop 17 Bailey Chairs to families of local pets who are suffering from ME. Currently, Josh Thompson, of Ingomar, and his dog are using one of the Humane Society chairs. Lewis’ Aunt Suzanne Medford and her dog Pink are still going to the Vet school for treatment and Pink is doing well.
This project has certainly been an education for Lewis and others, and has fulfilled a need in the community. Lewis hopes this project will bring awareness to our community of the need to support the Union County Humane Society, and that our community will learn of the symptoms ME, which can be treated with the use of a Bailey Chair.
Howard Lewis Creekmore is an honor roll 8th grader at the New Albany Middle School, where he served as Vice President of the Student Council and is a member of the football and baseball teams. Lewis is a member of First United Methodist Church in New Albany, where he participates in Youth Group, Youth Choir and attends church services and Sunday school. He plans to follow God’s plan for him through education, athletics and leadership, which Lewis hopes will one day lead him to Mississippi State. He is the youngest child of Sam and Warner Creekmore. Lewis has two siblings, Callie Creekmore and Josh Creekmore, who is an Eagle Scout himself. Lewis is the grandson of Dr. Sam and Barbara Creekmore.
Lewis has embraced scouting since becoming a Tiger Cub Scout in the first grade. Boy Scouts of America Troop 17 is sponsored by First United Methodist Church in New Albany. Troop 17’s adult scout leaders are James Shannon, Alan Greer and Jay Pullman.
This Sunday, August 28th, Lewis will receive his Eagle Scout Award, along with 4 other Boy Scouts from Troop 17; Tucker Shannon, Luke Bolen, John McGregor Davis and Eli Parks.
For more information about Megaesophagus in dogs: Megaesophagus in Dogs