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Jeannette scout gives Tri-City Meals on Wheels a new look

| Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Aaron Gilbert, 16, of Jeannette marks a board to be cut for an air conditioner platform while his grandfather Phillip Stevens of Connellsville holds the board, as part of his eagle scout project at the Tri-Cities Meals on Wheels building at Red Devil Park on September 15, 2013 in Southwest Greensburg.
Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Aaron Gilbert, 16, of Jeannette poses for a portrait while doing work for his eagle scout project at the Tri-Cities Meals on Wheels building at Red Devil Park on September 15, 2013 in Southwest Greensburg.

Hempfield Area High School junior Aaron Gilbert has given the Tri-City Meals on Wheels Inc. building at Red Devil Park in Southwest Greensburg a well-deserved facelift.

Gone is the decade-old coat of faded white paint, replaced by a gleaming, more appealing white. Also new are downspouts and a platform to support an air conditioner, designed to reduce the possibility of a passerby bumping heads with the equipment.

In the process of working to receive his Eagle Scout badge, Gilbert was quick to volunteer to direct the project.

As Gilbert explained the path of accepting responsibility, he said, laughing: “Bob went to Larry, Bob came to me (and the Scouts), I went to Larry, Larry said, ‘Yes'.”

Larry Leonard of Hempfield, a member of the board of directors at Tri-City Meals on Wheels, explained that Bob Bereit, patrol adviser-at-large, approached the board about the possibility of Gilbert's Eagle Scout project.

“I was not planning on a project yet,” Gilbert explained. “Mr. Bereit and members of his church were planning to paint the building, but when they were unable to do the painting he came to a Scout meeting and asked if anyone was interested in doing this as an Eagle Scout project. Knowing I would need a project soon, I immediately said, ‘yes'.”

Gilbert met with Leonard, who was quick to accept his proposal.

“Aaron had to write a plan, have it approved, and find volunteers to assist with the project,” Leonard said. “His total thought process of developing a plan was important. This project will teach him significant life skills. We're helping prepare him for the future. He's helping us and we're helping him at the same time. Local kids such as Aaron are doing great things in the community. He's an excellent role model.”

Gilbert met with scouting leaders, including Hempfield's Troop 480 Scoutmaster Jay Anderson, to present his proposal to the troop council.

“Aaron initially came to me with his plan for his Eagle Scout project,” Anderson said. “He already had an outline of what he wanted to do and how he proposed to accomplish this task. Any time you can help an organization such as Meals on-Wheels, it is definitely a good idea and I knew this would be a worthwhile project. I took his idea to our troop committee, where Aaron again presented his plans and his project was quickly approved.”

Gilbert got organized this summer, enlisting the aid of fellow Scouts via emails and a sign-up sheet at meetings. To defray the cost of the project, he visited businesses for their support.

“Businesses were more than willing to help,” Gilbert noted.

Chik-fil-A donated lunches for the workers; Lowe's provided discounted materials and donated a gift card; Home Depot donated two five-gallon buckets of primer; United Way donated paint, courtesy of PPG Industries; and SG Roofing Supply Group of Latrobe donated downspouts.

“Ask Aaron to get something done, he will get it done,” Anderson said. “He has the ability to get people to help him with various projects through humor. He keeps things light and gets things done while making it fun for people at the same time. He is a strong leader in getting things accomplished. We can rely on him to complete a project.

“Becoming an Eagle Scout is the pinnacle in scouting. It is the pinnacle in rank and teaches about being a project manager and teaches management skills. When Aaron does something, such as this project, he makes sure all the equipment and manpower necessary are available.”

Gilbert, who is assistant senior patrol leader, was joined by fellow members of Troop 480, which is sponsored by the Church of St. Paul in Carbon.

“I still have two Eagle Scout badges to get, but they are not in conjunction with this project,” said Gilbert, who plans to attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania and become a physical therapist. “My goal is to complete everything, including appearing before the scouting review board, by the end of winter. I feel great about this project, about helping the community and helping elderly people who are unable to do this themselves.”

Les Harvath is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.