ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) — As students at Allendale High School started their new school year, they walked by something new near the southwest entrance of the building — a display honoring veterans.
The powder-coated stainless steel military insignias are placed in a semi-circle above a TV monitor, which features the names of veterans in West Michigan from all military branches.
Peyton Selk, a senior, spear-headed the project not only to show respect for veterans but to help him complete a requirement to become an Eagle Scout. His sash is covered in badges from his accomplishments in the scouts, including ones for family life, life-saving, camping, cooking and many others.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to learn what you’re interested in. It can help you in your career or in future jobs,” Selk said about being a part of the Scouts.
When looking for an idea for his Eagle Project, Peyton discovered he couldn’t take on something that involved a lot of physical labor, so completing repairs to his Boy Scout camp was out of the question.
“A lot of that stuff was challenging because it required chainsaws or being up on a ladder 20 feet in the air. I couldn’t really hire people younger than 18 to do that. A lot of the guys in my troop are under 18,” he explained.
Using troop members helps give them service hours so they can rank up. The Eagle Scout project guidelines say the prospective Eagle Scout must not do any of the hands-on work themself.
The principal of Peyton’s high school gave him the idea to do something for veterans.
“I thought it was a great opportunity to give back to the community and honor those who gave us our freedom,” Peyton said.
Working on a project like this will serve Peyton well in the future by teaching him how to see an idea through from start to finish.
“This has taught me planning and preparation. I’m not a huge planner guy. I more jump to the gun,” he said. “This has taught me that planning makes things a lot easier rather than just throwing things out there.”
A key part of being a project coordinator is finding the money to make it happen. So Peyton started a GoFundMe account, advertised on social media and community pages online. He also went in person to business owners, where he got his first big donation from AutoBody Experts for $3,200.
Peyton plans to attend college next year, preferably somewhere close to home and eventually become a pilot. He also plans to take the lessons learned in the Scouts with him.