Bio: Schmitz, Kolin - Completes Eagle Scout Project (2022)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Schmitz, Poeschel, Kuhn, Kurth

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 6/08/2022

Kolin Schmitz Completes Eagle Scout Project (2022)

Schmitz Completes Eagle Scout Project

Neillsville Mayor Dewey Poeschel presents Kolin Schmitz with a certificate of recognition for completing his Eagle Scout project, which included revitalizing the flag pole/Veterans of Foreign Wars area in the Neillsville City Cemetery.

By Valorie Brecht

Kolin Schmitz has taken his desire to help the community and put it into action with an Eagle Scout project, which included installing benches, concrete walkways and an outdoor podium at the Neillsville City Cemetery by the flagpole.

“I feel accomplished,” Kolin said.

Kolin got the idea for his project after seeing a need in his community. Kolin has been in scouting for about 12 years, and he and his family have attended the Memorial Day ceremony in the cemetery almost every year. There is always a guest speaker at the ceremony.

“Ever since I was a Cub Scout, I asked, ‘Why did they have to bring a podium in [for the ceremony]?’” Kolin said.

Kolin’s mom Shelly explained that it was for the speaker to stand behind and put their notes, and suggested that someday Kolin could redo that area and put in a podium so volunteers wouldn’t have to haul one in every year. Kolin agreed it was a good idea and started working on it over a year ago. Kolin planned a multi-faceted project, including removing the existing shrubs and brush, replacing the grass, planting a new tree and putting in wheelchair-accessible, concrete walkways for veterans to perform their gun salute.

The first step, however, was fundraising. Many local businesses, individuals and organizations chipped in to raise $6,500 for the project (including donations and grants). The Schmitz family runs a pumpkin patch and promoted the project there, with some people making up to $500 donations just from that.

Last June, work began on the actual project site. Many people came together to make the project happen, including Kolin’s dad and grandpa, other family members, friends and City of Neillsville workers. Kolin received a grant for the concrete and had gravel and grass donated. Kolin and his family are grateful for all the support.

“Kolin is always willing to help everyone else, so it was nice to see people come back and help him with his project,” said Shelly.

All in all, Kolin invested more than 300 volunteer hours in the project. He had to have it done by his 18th birthday, Dec. 15, and he met that deadline. Besides the project itself, he had to meet other requirements to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, including earning at least 21 merit badges. Kolin earned the required 21 plus an additional 13. He also had to demonstrate that he lives by the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law, as confirmed by individuals who know him personally. In addition he had to served in a leadership capacity in scouting or elsewhere and take part in a unit leadership conference.

“I’ve known Kolin a long time. He was coming to meetings even before he was eligible to join scouts. So, it’s rewarding to see him grow up and do this, because this is the pinnacle of scouting, said Troop 43 leader Glenn Slenczka.

“As far as the project, it’s a very nice place to have the ceremony. Now, people don’t have to bring chairs and they have a place to sit. From a leader standpoint, it’s nice to see Kolin achieve the highest rank,” he added.

Only four percent of Scouts have earned the rank of Eagle Scout since the founding of the Boy Scouts of America in 1911.

Kolin received a certificate of appreciation and words of gratitude from Mayor Dewey Poeschel during the recent Memorial Day ceremony at the cemetery, the first official ceremony held there after the project was complete. Many community members expressed their appreciation as well.

The Schmitz family hopes the area can be used not just on Memorial Day, but also any time as a place for reflection, prayer or remembrance.

Wendell Kuhn speaks at the Neillsville Memorial Day ceremony as Legion and Legion Auxiliary members stand by. After many years of having to bring a podium to the cemetery now there is a permanent podium along with walkways and seating, thanks to Kolin Schmitz’s project.

Neillsville Boy Scout Kolin Schmitz smiles for a photo with family at one of the benches he helped put in for his Eagle Scout Project. Shown are (front, l-r) Jason Kurth and Kolin, Karcyn, (back) Kevin and Shelly Schmitz.
All three photos by Valerie Brecht/Clark County Press



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