All it took was for first grader Brendan Frank to join in his first Cub Scout Pinewood Derby to get him hooked on scouting for life.
What does Brendan like about being a Boy Scout?
“Everything,” he said.
Now about to start ninth grade next autumn, Frank is on his way to achieving the Boy Scouts’ highest honor — becoming an Eagle Scout.
For the service project part of his Eagle Scout badge, Frank will be donating over 60 wooden crosses to The Church of St. Mary’s of Bechyn.
The crosses will be set up on the graves of veterans for years to come. The project originally started as another scout’s Eagle project.
“My cousin was asked if he wanted to make the crosses as an Eagle Scout project, but he had already done his service project,” Brendan said last week, “so he asked me if I wanted to do it.”
The original crosses for the St. Mary’s of Bechyn graves were showing their age, so Brendan agreed.
After getting approval from scoutmaster Patrick Rohland, Brendan set to work.
Brendan’s cousin had already done some research, and had the plans for constructing the crosses. After a call was put out, the families of the Bechyn area donated much of the funding for materials.
Then it was only a matter of getting the labor.
Brendan put out a call to his fellow scouts and their families. A few of his 4-H friends even volunteered their time.
On Tuesday, June 11, in the Frank family garage, everything came together — literally.
“We spent all day today getting ready,” Brendan said. He had designed an assembly-line process to transform wooden slats and metal rods into sturdy crosses that would last for years.
Once the nearly 40 volunteers started, it only took a few hours to make the over 60 crosses.
There was one last-minute change in the plans. According to Brendan’s father Duane, the church asked Brendan to drill a hole in the top of each cross to hold an American flag.
By the time the cross-building effort wound down, all that was left was to paint them, which could wait for another day.
Brendan’s crosses will make their public debut at the annual Czech Heritage Festival held at the Church of St. Mary’s on Aug. 11.
After the festival is over, the crosses will be taken down and stored where they can be reused again and again.
“It’s great to be involved in a project that will last a lifetime,” said Brendan. “This is something that my kids can see someday.”