Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 25, 2012

Local Scout working on Eagle project

Mike James
The Independent

BELLEFONTE — Compassion for the homeless led one area Boy Scout to launch a community service project to help.

Jerod Holsinger is devoting his Eagle Scout project to collecting basic toiletries and other items and assembling comfort kits for the homeless and disaster victims.

The 17-year-old member of Troop 154 will be collecting materials for the rest of the month and then he and other troop members will put them together at their headquarters at Bellefonte Presbyterian Church.

Every scout seeking the Eagle rank, the highest in the youth organization, is required to plan and complete a service project. When Holsinger started thinking over possibilities, he considered the area’s homeless people and the things they don’t have. “It struck me that the people don’t have the commodities we have in everyday life,” he said.

He met with Northeast Kentucky Red Cross executive director Vicki James, who suggested the comfort kits. Her organization keeps them on hand to give to fire and flood victims.

“The kits are just the simple things we take for granted, but sometimes (victims) come out with just the clothes on their backs,” James said.

Holsinger will divide his kits between the Red Cross and A Clean Start, which is a program that offers such supplies to the homeless and needy at Ashland’s social service center, The Neighborhood.

Holsinger plans to continue collecting the items until the end of the month. He has set up collection boxes at the Red Cross office at 4201 Blackburn Ave., United Way headquarters at 2000 Carter Ave., and Bellefonte Presbyterian Church, 605 Bellefonte Princess Road.

Then he and other troop members will assemble the kits. Their help is a key component in the project, said Holsinger, who joined Cub Scouts in second grade and has been a member ever since. “I remember as a younger scout helping with Eagle projects, and it made me feel needed,” he said. “I’m trying to create the spark in the others to achieve the goal of Eagle.”

James said working with young people on community service projects often pays off later when their initial interest turns to long-term commitment. “When they get older they may want to pursue it either as a volunteer or as a profession,” she said.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.