Senior builds blocks and puzzles for Guatemalan orphans with special needs
March 6, 2019
Eleven years ago, Luke Deatherage’s journey began: stemming from his father’s desire for his son to become more involved in his community, Luke transformed from an apprehensive young cub to a proud eagle.
Over the course of his time in Boy Scouts, Luke not only earned over 21 badges and climbed up the ranks, but he also learned how to be independent by working with other Scouts. Years of his hard work culminated to him obtaining the Eagle Scout rank – the highest rank in Boy Scouts – after completing a project that benefited the community.
“I made wooden puzzles and blocks for dozens of kids in an orphanage in Guatemala [who had Down Syndrome],” Luke said. “I got my friends together and some people from school to help out in making and painting the blocks.”
The project was for an organization called Orphan Outreach which supports an orphanage in Guatemala for children with Down Syndrome, and they requested wooden toys and puzzles so the kids could work on fine motor skills. Luke’s father, Blake Deatherage, encouraged Luke to pursue this project dedicated to orphans.
“Since Luke was born in Ukraine and lived in an orphanage for his first two years, I thought it was important for him to give back to kids who are currently living in an orphanage,” Blake said. “I have a friend who works with the orphanage, and she was able to get a project for Luke to complete.”
To earn the Eagle Scout rank after he completed the project, Luke had to schedule a meeting with the Board of Review who would determine whether or not he would earn this rank.
“The [Board] reviewed Luke’s application to make sure it was complete,” Blake said “Then, the adults asked him a series of questions such as, ‘How was your scouting experience? What was your Eagle project? What went good or bad during the project? What are your plans once finishing Scouts? How do you plan to give back to scouting?’ Luke [was not nervous]. He was excited.”
Luke had to finish the project and submit his application before May to be considered for the award because everything needs to be complete before a Scout turns 18. In June 2018, he earned Eagle Scout.
“I felt super proud that I got the award, and I felt so happy all over,” Luke said. “My dad said ‘I feel proud’ and ‘we got this done.’”
With the project, Scouting helps develop leadership. Blake said that Luke has grown with this project.
“Luke was the one in charge on the days of work,” Blake said. “He coordinated Scouts and adults who were there to help. Luke was definitely the one in charge for all the activities. [From] measuring wood to cut, cutting the wood, burning the alphabet letters on the wood blocks, painting everything, Luke was responsible for assigning everyone their job. The Eagle Scout candidate is supposed to lead the project, not work it. Luke kept all volunteers on their assigned tasks. He would not let anyone just stand around. Luke was definitely the one in charge.”