Scout Starts Garden for Seniors

Staff Writer

To better a community by adding to the community. 

That’s what is needed to complete an Eagle Scout Project and help attain Eagle Scout status. And one scout from Troop 138 in St. Marys just completed a project that will hopefully get him there. Seth Goodwin, a senior at Memorial High School, held an opening ceremony at Otterbein St. Marys SeniorLife Community Sunday afternoon for table gardens for residents to grow produce with ease. 

“I built these table gardens hoping that they can come sit out here in a wheelchair, be at chest level so they can get tomatoes, eggplants, cabbage and stuff to make different types of food and salsa,” Goodwin said. “I think it will be a neat addition for them and I hope they love it.”

The idea came after a while of brainstorming and talking with various people, including one woman at his church. He had mentioned to her that he was looking to complete a community based project and shared some ideas with her, including the table gardens.

She asked if a community, such as Otterbein, would work for the project and he said that it would. 

This woman said Otterbein residents would love to have raised garden beds and had been interested in installing some themselves but never got around to it. From there, Goodwin got started on contacting people to get the project off the ground. 
He contacted Melissa Smalley, executive director at Otterbein St. Marys, to confirm if they would be interested in the gardens, of which she said, ‘yes’. 

From there, Goodwin got to work getting the measurements, collecting donations and building the planter boxes, with the help of his troop. He said they met one to two times per week to get the project finished.

During his speech to residents, family and friends at the event, Goodwin gave thanks to those who sponsored his project, including the city of St. Marys who donated the dirt for the planter boxes, and the VFW, Foundry, the Fort Loramie Medical Center and others who made monetary donations to help purchase the supplies needed to get the gardens started. 

The boxes, six in total, were finished and dropped off at the senior community about a month ago and the seeds were planted around that time for the big day on Sunday. 

Goodwin, who supplied everything, planted three different types of tomatoes, egg plant, oregano, jalapeños and cabbage to get the residents started. One of the eggplants was ready to be harvested at the time of the ceremony, which one resident — Mary Sullivan — got the honor of picking, with some help from Goodwin.

During the ceremony, Rev. Tim Benjamin from Wayne Street United Methodist Church was present, where Goodwin had asked him to pray over all of the boxes. 

All that is left for the project is for Goodwin to finish up some paperwork and submit his project to Boy Scouts of America.
With this project completed, he hopes to earn the highest ranking for boy scouts, but that isn’t all he hopes this project accomplishes.

“Hopefully, God can bless the tables and keep it growing for the elderly,” he said. 

According to Boy Scouts of America, achievement of Eagle Scout is not common as many who start their journey in Boy Scouts will not achieve this recognition. Since the organizations inception in 1912, only 2.25 million scouts have earned this rank.

By earning Eagle Scout, Goodwin will be ranked among many notable figures including Auglaize County native Neil Armstrong; CEO of Microsoft, Bill Gates and other high ranking U.S. government officials.