Eagle Scout project benefits fire department

Laura Freeman
Kent Weeklies
Nicholas Wengerd earned his Eagle Scout rank by building this enclosure at the Tallmadge Fire Station #1 to hold donated aluminum cans.

TALLMADGE – The generosity of donors was causing a problem that a Boy Scout solved, and in the process, earned Eagle Scout, the highest ranking for the organization.

Nicholas Wengerd, 18, built an enclosure to hold aluminum cans donated to Aluminum Cans For Burned Children at the Tallmadge Fire Station #1.

Nicholas is a member of Boy Scout Troop #160 which meets at Bethany United Church of Christ in Cuyahoga Falls. He attends Ellet High School and wants to become a car mechanic at a dealership.

“My stepfather is firefighter at the Tallmadge Fire Department,” Nicholas said. “They have a garage and had pile of bags of cans but they were ripped up. I talked to the chief about what I could do to prevent the bags from getting torn, and he said I could build a storage area.”

Fire Chief Michael Passarelli said the fire station has been collecting cans for at least 10 years for the children’s burn center. The containers were too small and filled up quickly before the scrap recycler picked up the cans.

“People bring the aluminum cans in bags and set them in front of the containers and it looks bad,” Passarelli said. “I’ve been wanting to put in a fenced area for the cans for a while.”

When part-time firefighter Jeff Campbell, who is an assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 160, said his stepson, Nicholas, needed a project, Passarelli said the enclosure was perfect and fit the requirements for an Eagle Scout project.

“Nicholas and I sat down and figured it out," Passarelli said. “I spray painted the area and he took it from there. He did a good job. It solved a real problem I was having because it looked terrible and now makes it an easy to identify collection site.”

Nicholas typed up a proposal and emailed it the Boy Scout Council which approved the proposal.

“Then I needed to have it signed by my unit leader, the fire chief, and council before I could start the project,” he said.

Nicholas made a chained link storage area approximately 4 feet high and 10-foot-square with a double gate in front to keep aluminum cans in one place until they are collected every couple of weeks.

Nicholas met with the firefighter’s union about his project and a possible donation, and they gave him $450 to buy the fencing.

“A community project is an Eagle Scout requirement,” Nicholas said. “I have to do a project that benefits something.”

Nicholas presented his project before the Boy Scout Council Oct. 8. His twin brother, Noah, also completed his Eagle Scout project of a bat village at Water Works Park in Cuyahoga Falls.

“They ask what was good, what was bad and what improvements, if any, I could make,” Nicholas said.

After review of their projects and answering a lot of questions, both Nicholas and Noah had their projects approved and earned the Eagle Scout rank.

Campbell said he was proud of Nicholas and Noah, and they have four Eagle Scouts in the family now. 

Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at lfreeman@recordpub.com