The Kindness of an Eagle Scout Project

April 12, 2021

My name is Matthew Misso, and I am from New York. I am 18 years old and just finishing up High School this year. I like camping, hiking, and other fun outdoors activities. I also like a wide variety of foods, coloring with crayons, and writing stories.

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In order to become an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts Organization, you must choose a project to undertake so you can get the rank, and this project can be anything. I chose to clean out an abandoned building called the Dom-Polski Building in Depew, NY.

My project would be the first of many steps to transform the building into a community center for the locals of Depew. It all started at 8:50 am on Saturday, September 19th, 2020. I showed up to the building expecting only about ten people, and boy was I wrong. I was met with local reporters and politicians, and a whole bunch of volunteers eager to help out. I was quickly overwhelmed, but only for a moment, we had a job to do after all. That was all I could think about, getting that job done.

We started cleaning around 9:10-9:15 and when I tell you we cleared it out, we made it look almost spotless! The gymnasium was the first to be cleared, and it was chock full of dirt, dust, and other debris. Broken glass from windows scattered the floors, empty tables and chairs were propped up against walls and corners. We all took turns dismantling them and throwing them into dumpsters, along with trash bags about two feet tall, and almost full to the brim. We were in that gymnasium for about an hour, and it was a significantly big gymnasium.

We then broke off into smaller groups to tackle the separate and smaller rooms inside the building on the main floor. Dust was rampant, luckily covid was happening because everyone had a mask on them, for more than just a microscopic virus, but also the dust particles nobody wanted to breathe in. At around 11:30 am we’d made it to the basement, and that’s where we’d stay for the next two or so hours. The basement was the worst of the whole building. Literal piles of dirt and dust were everywhere. It was so bad that everyone sweeping so much caused thick dust clouds to form in the air. It was also a hot day, so in the event that anybody did have to step outside, there was a tent out in the parking lot that was stocked with water and Gatorade in case they had to take a minute.

Mr. Sweeney, who was my project’s beneficiary, really helped the project move along. He provided all of the trash bags we would need, as well as tools we’d need like shovels, and work lights, as well as Masks and work gloves. It was his idea to work in a production line, handing stuff off to the person next to you so it could get to the dumpster faster. Countless doors, wooden posts, and bags full of dirt made it up that line and out the door.

When the line halted, I was one of the first people rushing over to help, it was almost always one of the doors we had to lift. Altogether, we filled up two whole dumpsters full of trash that the building had in it, for about twenty odd years. In total, about 110 trash bags, maybe even more, were full of dirt and dust, and everybody came out of that building with dirt on their faces, in their hair, in their noses, and even in their ears. I don’t know about them but I was blowing out brown from my nostrils for two days.

The project ended around 2:30 pm. My Scout Master Mr. Vincett said it was an excellent turnout. I sometimes wonder how the project would have went if my Troop and family members weren’t there to help with the project. Would there still have been as much publicity? Would more have gotten done? Would less have gotten done? What’s next in terms of renovating for the building? How far have they gone in doing so? So many questions but nonetheless, I cannot wait to see the building’s final result, whenever that may be.

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