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Eagle Scout project benefits city
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

August 21. 2013 8:54AM
Lucas Chmela saved the City of Brandon an estimated $700 to $800 in labor costs last month.

And he did it all in the name of community service.

Chmela, along with help from about 10 of his fellow Boy Scouts from Troop 582 and his parents, Ben and Mary, gave the picnic shelter at Tallgrass Park a fresh coat of paint July 27. The eight-hour painting project is one of the steps Chmela is taking en route to achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program. Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges and demonstrating Scout Spirit through the Boy Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. Chmela is one merit badge shy of achieving the Eagle Scout rank.

Chmela, a junior at Brandon Valley High School, was looking for a service project when Dave Swier, Brandon’s city building inspector, suggested painting the picnic shelter.

“I thought it was a spectacular idea. It definitely needed a better look than just wood,” Chmela said. “Through Scouting we do community service that helps benefit somebody that’s not yourself or profiting off of it.”

While the city supplied the paint, Chmela called on two Brandon businesses – Brandon Ace Hardware and Brandon Lumber Co. for the tools – rollers, paintbrushes and paint trays – to carry out the task. And G.A. Johnson also provided funding for project supplies.

“He did a great job,” said Swier. “I was really impressed with what he did.”

While the City of Brandon has benefited from Chmela’s efforts, he says he’s benefited from the Scouting program.
“I feel like I’m more responsible and I’ve learned a lot of invaluable skills,” he said. “In the last three years as an SPI (senior patrol leader), I’ve learned a lot of time management and leadership skills.”

Chmela had to be organized to tackle this project. Once he decided on his Eagle Scout project, he completed six pages of paperwork that had to be approved before the painting could begin. That was followed-up by an additional seven-page project plan that he carried out.

“It helps everyone,” he said. “And it’s just one of those little, small efforts (that we can do).”

Lucas Chmela enlisted the help of some fellow Boy Scouts and his parents in painting the picnic shelter at Tallgrass Park in Brandon. The good deed, which doubled as his Eagle Scout project, saved the City of Brandon between $700 and $800 in labor costs. Photo by Jill Meier

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