It was hard at first for Cody Breon to adjust to a culture on “island time.”
The West Pennsboro Township youth went on a mission trip to the Bahamas the summer of 2016 before his junior year at Big Spring High School.
“They were so laid back,” Breon recalled of the islanders. “They were not on a strict schedule like us Americans.” Being half an hour late for a meeting was typical.
The challenge for Breon was how to relax enough to pace his way through the task of replacing a caved-in roof for a single mother of three children.
She could have lost custody were it not for the help of the team from the Carlisle United Methodist Church. Their work began with removing the water-logged timbers damaged in the storm.
Within a week, Breon and the other volunteers had built a new roof and covered it over in shingles. It wasn’t all work. In his spare time, he played soccer with local children.
“The culture was a lot different,” said Breon, now 17 and a senior at Big Spring. He said it was interesting to see how kids in a different country play a universal sport.
Record of service
Since middle school, Breon has been involved in a number of charitable projects aimed at improving people’s lives. His first of four mission trips was in New Jersey where he helped to replace dry wall in a home that had been swamped by Hurricane Sandy.
He also made two trips to Georgia. One involved helping a church host a vacation Bible school in a park in a Hispanic neighborhood. The other had Breon help volunteers build a swing set and picnic tables for a different neighborhood park.
Each time, Breon had the opportunity to play soccer, his main sport since elementary school. Last fall, the Bulldogs went 9-7 for the season and missed out qualifying for the district playoffs by one game.
“It was a fun ride,” Breon said about his final year on the varsity soccer team. “We got the results that we wanted and we scored more goals than we’ve ever had.”
He played defense his last season as a left back. Prior to that, Breon was a forward or a wing. “I did well wherever I went,” he said. The plan is to play either club or intermural soccer in college.
To earn his Eagle Scout, Breon organized the effort by Troop 174 of Newville to build two wooden benches at a scenic overlook on the Locust Point Trail of the King’s Gap Environmental Education Center.
In school, Breon participates in the TEMPUS Club which is short for Time Eventually Makes People Understand Society. One goal of this group is to reach out and help local children and veterans.
Career in neuroscience
Breon plans to study neuroscience in college in the hope of working either as a medical professional or in a lab setting in research and development.
Breon first became interested in the brain and nervous system after completing a fifth-grade research paper on Phineas Gage, a railroad construction foreman who survived an improbable accident.
A premature explosion at a construction site turned a tamping iron into a missile that shot through Gage’s head. “He recovered from that injury, but his personality changed,” Breon said of the foreman.
In March 2017, Breon participated in a job shadow with Dr. Mohammad K. Ismail, a Carlisle neurologist. “I followed him around for a day and watched what he did,” Breon said. “He was always on his feet … always busy with either paperwork or a patient. It was really neat to see him constantly on the go … constantly working.”
Part of what Breon observed involved Ismail compiling data to prepare a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Breon looks forward to the spring when he can participate on the varsity track and field team. He first got involved as a sprinter to keep fit for soccer. Now his main focus is on the 800-meter run.
His goal this year is to beat his personal best times.