Eagle Scout candidate honors firefighters with memorial garden

| 30 Sep 2011 | 08:39

Sugar Loaf — Little did Thomas Daunheimer know when he joined the Cub Scouts in second grade that he would one day be working on his Eagle Scout project: a beautiful garden to commemorate Sugar Loaf firefighters who have died. Every once in a while the Sugar Loaf Engine Company receives a memorial donation for a firefighter, and each donation is assimilated into a general fund. As the money began to accumulate, the treasurer suggested using the money to build a memorial garden to commemorate each of the firefighters who received a donation in his name. Len Knapp, chair of the Memorial Garden Committee, brought the idea to the company. Another member who had been involved in scouting said it sounded like a great idea for an Eagle Scout project. The company approached the local Scout troop to find there were at least three or four Eagle Scout eligible candidates. Thomas Daunheimer was selected to lead the project. “When I was told about the project, I was pretty happy that they had found something for me to do,” Thomas said. “I have no masonry experience. Dad is a woodworker. I had to do a lot of research to see how to go about it.” His dad knew a little, and Thomas did Internet research. He also consulted a family friend with a business, and then recruited volunteers. Everybody in his troop was willing to help. The troop is fairly small, with only 10 to 11 boys, and some parents pitched in as well. Daunheimer said it took three weekends at the Sugar Loaf firehouse, working both Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m., to finish the work. “By fitting in a lot of hours, it took the least amount of days possible,” said Thomas. “I’m happy about it. I’m always into doing something good like this. It definitely feels good to honor and respect the fallen firefighters.” The garden now has ornamental grasses such as zebra grass and other varieties. Bricks were donated, and plants from EP Jensons were discounted. Daunheimer is a junior at Monroe-Woodbury High School and lives just over the Chester border. He predicted it would take 118 man hours, but said, “I have a feeling it was a lot more.” An engraved brick will carry the name of each firefighter who had money donated in his name. Thomas came up with a plan and drawings in written detail to submit to the Eagle Scout committee as well as the committee at the firehouse. The project will be completed in the spring, when he will plant the remaining plants and flowers the firefighters want included. A dedication ceremony will be held at that time. Daunheimer said the project was a big responsibility because he needed to do exactly what the fire company wanted. In addition to being an Eagle Scout, Thomas is part of the AV Club at school and is a musician. He enjoys playing the guitar as well as bass and drums, and was in a band. “Some of my closest friends have been friends that I have met in Cub Scouts,” said Daunheimer. He has enjoyed his Scouting experience, and the commitment he made to stay with it all the way to the top.