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Scout designs garden in memory of loved ones

| Friday, March 23, 2007

When deciding on an appropriate idea to fulfill his Eagle Scout requirements, Michael Walters, of Uniontown, didn't have to look anywhere outside of his own family and church.

Walters,18, of Hopwood, discussed his project with family, looking for something worthwhile to complete to earn Boy Scout's highest honor.

"Me and my mom and granddad all sat down and talked about it (project)," Walters said. "We talked about how this was one of the only churches in the area that didn't have something special outside. Other churches have shrines and gardens, but our church didn't have anything."

Walter's family church is St. Mary (Nativity) Church in Uniontown. Walters sat down and talked with church priest, the Rev. Micah Kozoil, about his idea.

"We sat down and drew up a rough sketch and he gave his input," Walters said. "He really thought that it was cool that we wanted to put this in. He was all for it."

The special area designed and built by Walters now adorns the outside area on the lawn beside the church.

Made of a concrete slab foundation, the memorial garden and patio meditation shrine area is landscaped with plants and shrubbery, and highlights a raised garden at the front. The front garden holds flowers, a special front basin, and a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also acquired by Walters.

The entire area has flood lights for night viewing. The front basin will also hold a little fountain when the weather warms for the spring, summer and fall seasons.

The memorial garden is dedicated to Walter's uncle, Ron Koziel, and to his great-grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Moser.

"We are so proud of him," his mother, Joyce Walters, said. "I just love it. I thought that it was a really a great project."

The garden is faithfully and lovingly tended to regularly by Walters' grandfather, John Koziel.

Walters worked on his project for months, with the assistance of family and members of Troop 620 of Uniontown, which consists of approximately 35 active members.

The project was completed in the fall. Walters just recently was awarded his Eagle Scout recognition at his Court of Honor.

A Scout since first grade, Walters spent 11 years with the organization and enjoys the learning experience, goals and leadership of the group.

"We have a lot of great leaders," Walters said. "We have dedicated leaders who put in the extra effort and go the extra mile. They work to keep us interested in Scouting."

Walters plans to attend California University of Pennsylvania, but hopes to return to the area and possibly go one step higher in Scouting.

"I can see myself in the future as a leader," Walters said. "After college, I'd like to come back and be a leader."

His project will be there to greet him, too.

"This has been an excellent experience," Joyce Walters said. "I'm glad that he chose to do something like this. This will be here for a long time. His family, his dad and I and my dad and mom are proud of him and proud of the shrine."

Walters is a senior at Laurel Highlands High School and the son of Joyce and Jim Walters, of Hopwood.

The Walters family will maintain the upkeep of the memorial shrine.

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