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Published: Monday, 5/12/2014 - Updated: 6 months ago

Boy Scout’s project gives home to birds, bats

Schmidt looking out for winged neighbors at Holland park

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Boy Scout Dawson Schmidt, 15, built bat and bird houses for Strawberry Acres Park near his Springfield Township home. His service project will help him achieve Eagle Scout rank. Boy Scout Dawson Schmidt, 15, built bat and bird houses for Strawberry Acres Park near his Springfield Township home. His service project will help him achieve Eagle Scout rank.
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A Springfield Township Boy Scout got creative while deciding on a service project to help him attain the rank of Eagle Scout, scouting’s highest.

Dawson Schmidt, 15, with the input of Holland Village Council and Mayor Mike Yunker, came up with the idea of building birdhouses and bat houses for donation to Strawberry Acres Park, at McCord and Angola roads, near his home.

Build them he did — four for birds and four for bats — and they are slated to be installed May 31.

Mr. Yunker said the youth presented council with several ideas, but the bird and bat houses were the most practical from the village’s perspective.

“We’re looking forward to the project,” he said. “They’ll be installing everything themselves, under supervision.”

The mayor said the village has benefited from scout projects in the past, and always looked at them closely to be sure they were needed. Dawson’s bird and bat houses at the 17-acre park were just such a project.

Dawson has been in scouting for nine years, starting as a Tiger Cub, and is a member of Troop 210, which is chartered by Providence Lutheran Church in Springfield Township and observed its 50th anniversary in 2010.

A freshman at Springfield High School, he lives in the township with his great aunt, Janet Krueger, and great grandmother, Bonnie Krueger, who have raised him since he was 14 months old and couldn’t be prouder of their young charge.

“He’s number one in my book,” said his great grandmother, who is 81 and has trouble getting around. “He takes care of me. He has to turn on the water in the bathtub because I can’t do that anymore.”

To finance his scouting trips, such as one to Key West, Fla., last July, Dawson sells containers of popcorn around his neighborhood.

Total sales over the last nine years come to almost $27,000, his great aunt said, of which Dawson kept a third.

Another activity is distributing, for free, “Vials of Life.” These are medicine bottles containing a person’s medical history and medications that can be given to an emergency medical services crew during an emergency. They are popular in nursing homes and assisted-care residences, Dawson said.

Dawson now is a Life Scout, the second-highest rank, and he said he hoped to be an Eagle Scout in about six months. He has earned 31 merit badges and said he is devoted to scouting.

“It’s something I could never imagine quitting,” he said.

Contact Carl Ryan at: carlryan@theblade.com or 419-724-6095.



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