CHESTERTON | To qualify for Eagle Scout status, Logan Castro would have to put 150 hours of community service into a project.
Yet the Chesterton High School sophomore — with the help of friends, family and fellow Boy Scout Troop 908 members — spent 1,200 volunteer hours refurbishing the Indiana Memorial Wall at Porter Avenue and Ind. 49 in time for Memorial Day.
“We kind of went above and beyond,” said Castro, 16.
Searching for a community service project to earn his Eagle Scout rank, Castro saw that upkeep of the area surrounding the wall, erected in 1999, had fallen to the wayside.
“After seeing how rundown it was, it was really sad,” Castro said. “I decided it was something I’d really like to do.”
The project was personal to Castro, whose grandfathers John Castro and Louis Trkulja are both veterans.
“I held it close to my heart,” Castro said. “It was something I could relate to and be passionate about.”
Castro sent donation letters to family and friends and earned $5,000 to fund his efforts. In nine weekends, Castro and his supporters trimmed trees, cleared leaves and brush, planted 150 trees and flowers, replaced 405 feet of edging, spread 30 yards of mulch, fixed and replaced lighting, installed new paving stones, and repaired the automatic sprinkler system.
Castro said people noticed the group cleaning and renovating the area.
“It was really cool ... a lot of veterans came out,” Castro said. “They were really excited about what we were doing.”
Castro hopes to become an Eagle Scout within the next six months, but that goal is secondary to a lesson learned during the project.
“I really learned to pay respects to the people who’ve served our country,” Castro said. “Honestly, we take all our liberties and freedom for granted.”
“Scouting is about helping everyone and not asking anything in return,” Castro said. “It was the least I could do for the people who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.”