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Eagle Scout project preserves a piece of local history

Jacob Bloomstrand stands in front of his Eagle Scout project, which installed window covers at St. Luke's Episcopal Church. Star Gazette photo by Katrina Styx1 / 2
The group that helped Bloomstrand with the work posed for a photo before getting started. The bushes were the first things to go. Submitted photo2 / 2

For some time, the Hastings Boy Scout Troop 9534 has had a partner in St. Luke's Episcopal Church. The church has allowed the troop space in its basement to hold its meetings. So when it came time for Jacob Bloomstrand, 15, to do his Eagle Scout project, it was an opportunity for him to give back.

The church had been having some trouble with water leaking into its basement. The basement windows had no covers on them, and damaged gutters allowed water to drain into the window wells and then into the basement. Staff there spent hours vacuuming water after rainfalls.

"The church was spending a lot of money to get rid of the water," Bloomstrand said.

The church had to do a construction project to repair the damage, and the insurance company had told the church it needed to install something to prevent additional damage.

Bloomstrand found out about the need through the assistant scoutmaster. Hiring a contractor was expensive, he said, so he got to work on a project that would serve the church's needs and help him earn his Eagle Scout badge.

The windows, located on the south side of the building, are about 150 years old and original to the building, so it's no surprise the church wanted to keep them. The area outside the church was overgrown with bushes, as well. So Bloomstrand brought forward a plan to remove the bushes, repaint and glaze the old windows, build up the window wells with new blocks and install custom window covers to keep water out.

Work began in the spring of 2012. Bloomstrand organized a group of people including fellow troop members and some of his family. When they got the bushes removed, they found part of the fire sprinkler system. The pipe was rusting, so Bloomstrand added that to the project as well. He cleaned it up and put a fresh coat of red paint on it to make it visible and presentable, since the bushes didn't hide it anymore.

To finish it all off, new bushes - ones that won't get so overgrown - were planted and a new rock bed put in.

All told, it took about 300 hours to complete the project, and the church is very happy with the result.

"He did such an excellent job," said Barb Flinn, the church secretary. "It looks polished, it looks professional."

The project was completed mid-September last year. Bloomstrand had a photo book made that shows the stages and details of the project, which he used in his Eagle Scout presentation.