NEW LONDON – On Thursday, Nov. 20, Chasen Gardner of Boy Scout Troop 59 received an Eagle Scout coin, acknowledgement of his dedication and hard work in boy scouting.
For many years, Gardner followed handbooks and leader instruction, earning badges that represent the understanding of corresponding subjects.
At times, he wanted to pull out of scouting, but his mother insisted he see it through. Her son was not interested in sports or other activities. Scouting was something he enjoyed, and she knew he needed to follow through; to have a success of his own.
To earn the final white ring badges for Eagle Scout, Gardner was to complete a community service project. As he was investigating possibilities, Jennifer Gruman, mother of another scout, gave Gardner an idea. An avid dog lover, she said that a shelter at New London Jaycee’s Dog Park might be a perfect Eagle Scout project. Gruman agreed to be Gardner’s project coach, a volunteer who follows a scout through the community service instructions.
Gardner and Gruman visited with the Jaycees, who admired Gardner’s idea, but had no funds to give him. Gardner and Gruman weren’t discouraged. Gardner approached local business owners in New London and Hortonville asking for donations. He received the monetary support he needed.
He studied the fenced dog park, and asked for comments and suggestions from park users. From this information, he determined the placement and size of the shelter. Gardner looked through shelter designs on the Internet, and combined several to satisfy his standards. He filled out an Eagle Scout construction plan.
“I know a lot about that stuff because I took woods and machine classes in school, and I help my friends out when they have house projects,” Gardner said. “It’s just like common sense to build something.”
He put his plan on paper, including a location map and material cost estimate.
With plan in hand, he approached Parks and Recreation Director Chad Hoerth with the idea to construct the 15-by-20 foot wood and steel shelter at the dog park.
“Chad was real happy. He gave me his suggestions – which helped a lot,” Gardner said. “I got help from a lot of people.”
Following his meeting with Hoerth, Gardner visited New London Building Supply, whose construction expert looked over the shelter plan and pointed out a few errors.
The company that poured the concrete slab threw in $200 for reinforcement brackets.
“After the concrete was set, we built the shelter in one weekend,” Gardner said.
Steve from Building Supply spent his personal time to oversee the build.
During the Howl-Oween event scheduled for dogs and their owners, the parks department acknowledged Gardner’s hard work at a ceremony in the new shelter. Recreation Supervisor Ginger Arndt thanked Gardner for his willingness to work hard at his project and see it through, creating a great space for park users.
Gardner said that he is uncomfortable when put in the spotlight.
“I don’t really like the attention. It’s not that big a deal,” Gardner said.
After graduation in June of 2015, Gardner will leave New London to become a United States Marine. Gardner did not take the decision to enlist lightly. He studied the possibilities before signing up. A bonus to this decision was unexpected. Eagle Scouts receive an automatic advancement in rank.