Eagle Scout project gives church improved outdoor space

Kent Weeklies
Matthew Thomas received his Eagle Scout award for an outdoor project he completed at Twin Falls United Methodist Church in Munroe Falls. Pictured are from left,  Diane Reynolds, the Rev. Jim Lewis and Matthew Thomas.
Matthew Thomas is pictured with his completed Eagle Scout award project at Twin Falls United Methodist Church in Munroe Falls.

The congregation at Twin Falls United Methodist Church in Munroe Falls can enjoy its socially distant outdoor services a little more, thanks to the efforts of a local Boy Scout and other volunteers, including fellow members of Troop 172.

Matthew Thomas, a sophomore at Stow-Munroe Falls High School, recently completed outdoor improvements for the church as part of his Eagle Scout Service Project. The project included clearing overgrowth, building a 48-inch fire pit surrounded by a 6-foot gravel gathering area, relocating the existing wood supply and building benches that can convert into tables.

“The church has been holding outdoor services, as weather has allowed,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis. “Like other churches during this time, we have found ourselves trying to think outside the box in terms of serving the needs of our members. This newly created space allows us more flexibility for both our morning and ‘messy church’ events, to make s’mores a part of outdoor services too.”

“In a time when it’s a challenge to get together safely, this outdoor space plays an important role in allowing fellowship with one another,” said Matthew's dad, Lee Thomas. “We are thankful the church can benefit from this project.”

While the project was completed over Labor Day weekend, Matthew has spent numerous hours since last March in the planning stage. “One of the purposes of the Eagle Scout Service Project is for the candidate to demonstrate leadership,” said Jeff Kline, Scoutmaster Troop 172. “He does this by creating a project that benefits the community, working with officials to iron out details, creating written plans and instructions, overseeing the actual work, and making a final presentation to the Boy Scout Board of Review.”

The candidate must also fund the project himself, and may ask for help from local businesses. “I was fortunate to have materials donated,” said Matthew. “I’m so thankful for the generosity of Tucker Supply, Lowe’s of Stow and Carter Lumber of Akron.” Together, the companies donated cement pavers and bricks, sand, fire ring blocks, lumber, hardware and weed barrier. Without their donations, the project would have cost about $400. “I ended up spending just $100, which was spent on food and supplies for the 21 volunteers.”

“We’re thankful for the partnership with the Troop 172 at our church, and the many projects Eagle Scouts have performed here and throughout Stow and Munroe Falls,” said Lewis. “We’re grateful for Matthew and the numerous volunteers who have provided such wonderful services. They are truly an asset to our communities.”