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Eagle Scout project could have rivaled 'This Old House'

By Jeff Burns

June 24, 2006

When Thomas Crane had to decide what to do for his Eagle Scout project, he wasn’t expecting it to turn out so big. In the end, Thomas combined a number of Eagle-caliber projects into one massive task.

It all happened when he transformed a bathroom into a shower room--a makeover that could have rivaled those seen on This Old House.

Thomas, 13, is the assistant senior patrol leader of Troop 172. In order to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout, Thomas needed to plan and manage a large service project. A new shower room at Mission del Sol Presbyterian Church, which needed it for its Family Promise program, fit the bill to a T.

Originally, Thomas said, he had wanted to install a manufactured shower in the room. However, the intended unit wouldn't fit into the room because the ceiling was too low. Thomas then decided to revise his plan and to build the shower from scratch.

Since the project required work on plumbing, Thomas had to get his layout approved by the city of Tempe and meet the regulations of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

“Getting the plan (approved) was very hard,” Thomas said. “It took four attempts to finally meet what the city and ADA wanted.”

After nearly six months of continuous work, Thomas was finished with his project. However, he says that he could not have done the project without the generous help from others

Thomas was able to gain the support of his church, which helped raise $2,225 and recruit  volunteers.

With the assistance of his troop and adult volunteers, Thomas learned nearly every aspect of renovation: removing existing toilets, moving the shower drain, framing a shower wall, putting up backer board, working on plumbing and replacing tile.

With the rest of the donations, Thomas gave the new shower room a pleasant vibe. The walls got a fresh coat of paint and even hung up a picture that would make any guest feel at home. He is also planning on installing a bench that has already been donated.

In total, Thomas managed 19 volunteers and more than 400 hours of volunteer service.

The church pastor, Dr. Arthur Campbell, says the new shower room greatly helped the flexibility that the church had to offer for Family Promise, now in its sixth year in the Valley.

“Currently we have 14 churches that contribute to the program, but only one other church has a shower room,” Campbell said.

“We really appreciate the addition that Thomas gave us.”

About 80 percent of the families involved with the Family Promise program get back on their feet within 90 days, according to Campbell.

Thomas is scheduled to have his Eagle Court of Honor in mid-August. He attributes the leadership skills and persistence he learned in scouting for his project.

“I tried my best to go by the scout law for my project,” Thomas said. “I was trustworthy with the contributions, loyal to the project and thrifty enough to not waste money.”


Photo by David Stone


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