Local scout’s project benefits Walton Rehab patients
by Valerie Emerick
Eagle Scout Troop No. 2 is very lucky to have a young man like Kevin Wayne Sheppard among its ranks. While most 16-year-olds have probably spent a good portion of the summer down at the pool or hanging out with friends, this charitable young citizen has devoted his time working on his Eagle Scout Service Project.
Sure, it’s a necessary step to receive a badge and progress as a scout, but that’s only one of the reasons why Sheppard chose to renovate and re-landscape the courtyard at Walton Rehabilitation Center.
“I just like helping people,” Sheppard says with enthusiasm. “I’ll do anything to help… also, I like to do a little bit of gardening — my mom gardens, my grandfather was a farmer, there are other farmers in the family — and I thought this would help more than some other projects we had out here.”
Sheppard’s project would be a daunting one for most adults, but fortunately he’s had a lot of help from family members, fellow troop mates and a local contractor (James Laird), all of whom donated time to assist, build, plant, water and whatever else was needed. The project’s scope includes tearing down the old planter boxes, building brand new ones, filling the new planters with plants, power washing the gazebo and other components in the courtyard, laying out paving stones, and painting and staining where needed.
“We built the planters and put the paving stones there,” gestures Sheppard, “so that people in wheelchairs can just come right up and be able to touch and smell the plants. We’ve planted chives, basil and this mint,” he says while pulling off a leaf and demonstrating, “this mint that smells just like mint chocolate… we really want the patients to enjoy the garden and be able to touch it and smell it. We also have some tomatoes going in and peppers — hot peppers… and the other planter,” he motions to the other side of the courtyard, “that has flowers in it. We wanted a little of everything.”
“What I hope to accomplish,” Sheppard continues, “mostly is to have the patients in wheelchairs, or not in wheelchairs — whatever type of injury they have — to be able to come out here and touch stuff, and garden, and maybe want to garden when they leave and go home. And hopefully help them learn how peaceful gardening can be… most people who garden say it’s relaxing to dig in the dirt and stuff and I’m hoping people can go home and learn that it’s a fun thing to do.”
In addition to his service project with the Eagle Scouts, Sheppard also does other volunteer work within the community and says that he hopes to become a special education teacher one day.
“I like volunteering — even if this wasn’t an Eagle Scout project, I’d still come here and help out — I just like to help. I’m really good with people, and kids, and just everyone.”You Might Also Like: