Teen gives back to parish through Eagle Scout project

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By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

Ryan Hartman loves Scouts BSA and his parish, St. Thomas More in Coralville. This summer, he showed his appreciation for both by choosing to install Stations of the Cross on parish grounds as part of his Eagle Scout project.

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Scout Ryan Hartman stands beside one of the outdoor Stations of the Cross he made as part of his Eagle Scout project.

“I have been attending St. Thomas More for a few years and have been active in the youth group and the church band. I wanted to give back.”

Ryan, 18, has been a member of Scouts BSA for 13 years. “I finished kindergarten and went to Cub Scout day camp the following week. I haven’t left (Scouts) since.”

When it came time to work on an Eagle Scout project, he asked Father Chuck Adam, pastor of St. Thomas More, if there was anything he could do to help the parish.

Father Adam gave Ryan a few ideas, including adding Stations of the Cross to the parish’s meditation path. “The meditation path behind St. Thomas More Church was designed and is maintained by long-time parish member, Susan Puhl,” Father Adam explained. “It became a popular path for individuals to walk, especially during the times of COVID-19 quarantine.”

Ryan thought adding the Stations “sounded like a good fit.”

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Father Adam gave Ryan the contact information for a religious supply store in Davenport where Ryan chose icons that were aesthetically pleasing and could hold up in bad weather. He ordered supplies and materials for installation. “I secured the caps to the posts, dug holes for the posts, secured the posts in the ground with earth and gravel, secured the icons to the posts, and planted flowers.”

A team of volunteers helped Ryan with his task, cutting the installation time in half. “We had planned two days for the project, but due to a good turnout of help we had just one main work day.”

He said reaction to the outdoor Stations of the Cross has been positive. “People have been thankful.”

Father Adam said the Stations of the Cross “will add a new dimension to the path, allowing those who meditate on the stations to identify their sufferings to those of Christ.”


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