LaGrange Park Scout learns the joy of giving
Devlin Miller, 13, of LaGrange Park, second from right, sorts donated personal care items for veterans with fellow Boy Scouts, from left, David Titzer, Jordan Gatsos, Brian Betzger and Christian Gatsos. | Photo courtesy of Jay Miller
Updated: March 18, 2013 1:18AM
LAGRANGE PARK — Eighth-grader Devlin Miller could hardly wait for Christmas Eve in 2012. It wasn’t because the Park Junior High School student wanted to shake the presents under his family’s tree, but rather to carry out his Eagle Scout project, after two months of preparations.
Q. What was your project?
A. I handed out sundries, or personal care items, to the veterans in the long-term care section of Hines VA Hospital.
Q. How did you get the idea?
A. My mom is a veteran and has been to Hines. They gave her a basket of sundry items, so I though maybe I could do that for Christmas for the long-term care patients who can’t leave the hospital.
Q. How did you get supplies?
A. I set out four boxes at St. Francis Xavier Church and school, and I put a notice in the bulletin asking for donations. I was surprised I got three boxes full in three weeks.
Q. Why did you pick Christmas Eve?
A. A lot of them didn’t have families or couldn’t go home because they needed special care. My family had a later dinner. I went and visited the veterans form 10 a.m. to about 1 p.m.
Q. How did you pass out the supplies?
A. Two or three of us from Troop 33 at St. Francis went to each room and asked them what they needed, like deodorant. We carried everything on a wagon we left in the hall. We stopped and talked with each of 60 veterans for about 5 or 10 minutes.
Q. What was it like talking with the veterans?
A. They really liked talking with us. It was not hard to find stuff to talk about. A lot of them were Boy Scouts themselves. They talked about what happened when they were scouts and asked us what we’re doing.
Q. What did you learn from your project?
A. I learned to be grateful for what I have. Other people have a lot less and they really appreciate that. I also saw how many hours and hours it took to complete the project. I’m still finishing up paperwork for the log.
Q. What else do you like about scouting?
A. I canoed for a week in the Boundary Waters. It was fun, but hard for me because I had just gotten my cast off.
Q. What else are you involved in?
A. I play percussion in the band at school. I play basketball, and I’m an altar server at St. Francis.
Q. Tell me about your family.
A. I have two sisters, Mackenzie, 20, and Madison, 17. My dad is Jay and my mom is Cherise.