Reynolds High junior honored as youth citizen
Branden Pursinger contributes to Troutdale community as a Boy Scout
TROUTDALE - On first glance, Branden Pursinger is very much like any other 16-year-old boy.
He likes reading comic books, going to the movies and spending time with his girlfriend.
But it's Branden's community service and involvement that sets him apart from many of his peers.
Branden, who will be a junior at Reynolds High School next year, was recently named the Troutdale Youth Citizen of the Year for his contributions to the city through his Boy Scout Troop, No. 174.
He will receive his award at Troutdale's annual SummerFest, which will take place Saturday, July 15, and will ride in the SummerFest parade.
Last summer, Branden worked at the Multnomah County Animal Shelter, cleaning the outdoor cages, removing the vegetation and laying gravel to earn his Eagle Scout, the Boy Scouts' highest honor.
'I think I've done a lot for my Boy Scout troop,' Branden said, adding that he has completed numerous service projects and mentored younger scouts.
He particularly enjoys placing the flags on soldiers' graves at Willamette National Cemetery in preparation for Memorial Day.
'Afterward, you look up the hill at a sea of flags and it's really powerful,' Branden said.
In addition to the projects he has participated in with the Boy Scouts, Branden has also helped out at local Earth Day events and volunteered to hand out water at the annual Troutdale Trot and Walk.
Branden's involvement extends to numerous school activities. He is on the honor roll and strives to maintain a 4.0 grade point average while participating in a number of extra-curricular activities.
He plays the trumpet in the school's jazz band and wind ensemble, was on student council his freshman and sophomore years and acted as an attorney for the entry level mock trial team.
Branden also played two roles in Reynolds' production of 'The Music Man' and went to the state Future Business Leaders of America competition last year.
Academically, he enjoyed his biology class last year and enjoys studying history.
'I'm a big fan of early American history,' Branden said, adding that he particularly enjoys studying the Civil War.
After he graduates, Branden hopes to attend either Lewis and Clark College or Willamette University and would eventually like to become a history teacher.
In his spare time, Branden enjoys reading murder mysteries, going to the library with his brother to check out Batman comic books, watching movies and hanging out with his friends.
Branden lives in Troutdale with his parents, Brad and Gerri Pursinger, an older brother and a younger sister.