First Responders Memorial Taking Shape

Gareth Stefanc (left) with the assistance of another Scout, dump a load of dirt into a Gator on Thursday afternoon.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Shovels, rakes, and the dream of becoming an Eagle Scout are helping to drive Gareth Stefanc to see a first responders memorial finished.

On Thursday afternoon, Gareth and his father Scott Stefanc, along with other volunteers, were on their second day of work at the site inside Forest Cemetery near the War Memorial.

Gareth and others carefully remove dirt from the site, making sure to adhere to the prescribed shape of the project to facilitate easy maintenance by groundcrew into the future.

The landscape will consist of river rock with some flowers.

The cement pad where the monument will sit has been readied. The place for purchased pavers is set, and the plan is by mid-September, the project will be completed.

Gareth continues to take orders for pavers if you are interested in adding your name or a friend or loved one’s name to the project.

Once the physical project is completed, there is a mound of paperwork waiting. Once the paperwork is completed, he sends that into the national board. His project also has to be approved by the board in his Scout Troop.

Completing the paperwork for the project is often compared to writing a grant, while the project itself has to be of a benefit to the community.

Gareth would then be an Eagle, and he only becomes an Eagle Scout if the national board approves it. There would then be a ceremony, and the recipient is then presented with his badge and rank of Eagle Scout.

For Gareth, a junior at Oskaloosa High School, he’s always had the drive to earn the rank of Eagle Scout since he joined Scouts.

In order to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, it must be earned before a Scout turns 18-years-old.

Oskaloosa has had three individuals earn the rank of Eagle Scout so far this past year. Gareth, if accepted, would be the fourth.

Since the 1930s, Oskaloosa has had approximately 50 Eagle Scouts.

It’s thought the recent flurry of Eagle Scouts can be attributed to younger scouts seeing that the rank is attainable, and setting that goal for themselves.

There are three more Scouts that are preparing to start their Eagle Scout projects.

According to Gareth, the response from first responders in the county has been “very positive and very supporting. They really like what I’m doing and really enjoyed that I’m taking this on.”

Gareth’s uncle, a retired Iowa State Patrol officer, along with other family members who are first responders gave him the idea for the memorial.

Once completed, Forest Cemetery will be the benefactor of the monument. After careful discussion with the cemetery and their staff, the specific layout was designed to help staff mow around the site easily.

Any extra funds raised during this initial phase and money raised from pavers will then go to upkeep and maintenance of the site.

The monument itself is a black granite arrowhead monument that will feature symbols of each group of first responders.

The back of the monument will have a place where the names of fallen first responders can be added. “Thankfully no one has, and hopefully kept that way,” added Gareth.

Posted by on Aug 18 2019. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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