Santiago Inches Closer to Eagle Scout Rank with Service Project for Lincoln Goodwill
By Anne-Marie Maher
Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. installed two hand washing stations on December 28 into their stores at 6300 Apples Way and 4555 Vine Street with the goal to give customers and employees more opportunities to sanitize. The stations were built as a community service project for Troop 282 Boy Scout, Anthony Santiago.
Anthony began the service project with his sights set on stepping closer to the Eagle Scout Rank. To achieve this, he would need to earn 21 merit badges, be active in his troop for at least six months as a Life Scout, complete a community service project and various other accomplishments.
After dedicating years to the Scouts, Anthony developed the leadership skills he would need to execute this task successfully.
Anthony started his Scout journey in first grade after learning about the Cub Scout program during an elementary school assembly. His passion and dedication showed early on when he was able to transition to Boy Scout a year early after earning his Arrow of Light Badge.
Throughout the years, he learned a range of skills from survival and camping to financial literacy.
“At first, it’s more just skill learning,” Anthony said. “You learn how to tie knots, build a fire and cook food. Eventually, you transition to more leadership skills or giving back to the troop in a sense. The requirements are more service oriented.”
His expertise was put to the test on a group hiking trip through Philmont Scout Ranch – a trip that Anthony described as the pinnacle of his scouting career.
The small group of five scouts and two adults trekked through New Mexico with 60 pounds on their backs. They used many skills learned in scouting, including how to distribute weight properly, guide themselves through 90 miles of backcountry for two weeks, and administer first aid. Hector was one of the adults that attended the trip.
He said, “What I saw there was a culmination of all of the leadership skills and actually being able to use the survival skills and scouting skills that he had learned.”
In the summer of 2020, Anthony began searching for a service project to complete for his Eagle Scout Rank. He had various ideas, including building an agility course at a dog park and creating a music exhibit with parks and recreation. Then, Goodwill expressed a need for hand washing stations in their stores.
“There came a point where I had to appraise the utility of what I was doing. I could either fulfill this need or keep looking for something that maybe wasn’t really necessary,” Anthony said. “Considering how topical it is, Goodwill came out on top.”
Goodwill’s Communications Director, Anne-Marie Maher added, “We have been thrilled to collaborate with Anthony in these past few months. Not only does this project develop Anthony’s ability to create and lead a large project from start to finish, but it also fulfills a need in our Goodwill stores during the COVID-19 crisis.”
Once Anthony gathered all signatures needed and had the project approved, he started planning the build for both stations. With help from his father, they outlined how the entire mechanism would operate, what materials to use, and more.
Creating the foot pump was the most difficult part for him, but he accepted the challenge.
Hector added, “The challenge was that essentially we made a sink on wheels, and he came up with that mechanism of a retractable pump.”
Anthony and his father would stay up late for several nights cutting wood and frames, making pocket holes and preparing the project for a troop workday with seven other scouts and twelve people overall.
Hector added, “There was a lot of preparation at the beginning and then a lot of quality control at the end.”
They were able to build the entire frame of both stations on that day.
Anthony said, “I had the younger scouts assemble plumbing because they couldn’t do as much with the power tools. They spearheaded the plumbing and made sure that it worked. I think they had a lot of fun testing it out.”
Most of the materials for the project were donated by businesses in the Lincoln area, such as Home Depot and Lowes, and by family members.
“I’m really proud of what he’s done. Essentially 75-80% of everything was donated,” Hector said.
He also used recycled materials for the project.
The stations are currently being offered to customers and employees as an extra opportunity to sanitize at the front of the store.
With this project completed, Anthony is well on his way to Eagle Scout Rank. His goal is to earn the accomplishment by this spring.