Volunteer team revamps Bethlehem Lutheran’s deck and ramp
By Robert Williams
Aiden King, age 15, a member of Frazee’s KAOTIC Robotics team and the Perham Boy Scouts Troop 321, assembled a crew to replace the handicap accessible ramp at Bethlehem Lutheran Church on Saturday, Sept. 16, as the final community project to complete his pursuit of becoming an Eagle Scout.
“One day I asked the pastor if he needed anything done because I was looking for a while; I had a couple ideas, but I figured I’d do something closer to home,” said King.
Aiden and his family are members of the church.
“I know this deck is going to be used a lot,” he said.
According to King, Neil Wothe of Frazee was a key contributor to the project being successful, a build King’s team of 30 friends, family, church members and fellow Scouts completed in just a half day.
Another big helping hand was King’s mentor Jayce Brown, a fellow member of Troop 321, who earned his Eagle award at the age of 15.
“I had a little late start and was putting it off a bit, although I had three years,” King said.
King did a lot of groundwork to get the project going, along with help from his two key mentors, and was years ahead of the deadline to attain the Eagle award. Scouts have until their 18th birthday to complete 21 merit badges and plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community.
“Lots of asking,” King said. “I made a couple announcements at church and went around town asking people and lots of my family came.”
King got a donation from one of his uncles that provided all the deck boards and the railings and remainder were self-funded out of pocket.
“It’ll be worth it, though; it was all a donation to the church,” King said.
There were 15 others that stopped by to show King support throughout the day, as well. The total cost of the project was around $3,000, not including all the tools that many of the volunteer workers brought with them.
Amazingly, the project was completed from demolition of the old deck to the last board being put in place in less than seven hours.
King’s crew worked in the same fashion he goes about his own business.
“I’m just someone who can get it done; start focusing on one thing and all of a sudden, it’s done,” said King. “It’s been way ahead of schedule since we started.”
King is also part of a troop that is achieving well over the norm in Scouts. Approximately six percent of scouts become Eagle Scouts, but the Perham troop is upping that percentage.
King will be the second Eagle Scout to come out of Troop 321 in Perham in the past two years and the fourth since November of 2021.
Next up is an appearance before the Eagle Scout Board of Review to determine the quality of King’s experience and decide whether he has fulfilled the requirements for the rank to add another Eagle Scout to Troop 321.
More photos of the project can be viewed at both the Bethlehem Lutheran Church and Troop 321’s Facebook pages.