WAXAHACHIE —In an opportunity to demonstrate leadership qualities and earn the coveted Eagle Scout merit, Waxahachie High School junior, Jake Cremers, partnered with the Ellis County SPCA for a community project to earn his badge.

“I want to be a vet and have always loved animals, so I knew I wanted my eagle project to involve animals," Cremers expressed the inspiration of his project.

"The majority of my volunteer hours have been at the SPCA, so I always wanted to do something through them," he explained.

According to the National Eagle Scout Association, not every boy who joins a Boy Scout troop earns the Eagle Scout rank. In fact, only about five percent of all Boy Scouts do so.

Adding to the requirements of earning the Eagle Scout ranking, a Boy Scout Troop 232 press release noted that to obtain this status, a Boy Scout must plan, develop, and give leadership to others by performing a service project that will benefit the community.

Through each scout’s Eagle Scout Service Project, young men practice what they have learned in Scouting and gain valuable project management and leadership experience in the process.

Meeting with Joan McGrath, Director of the Ellis County SPCA, Cremers did just that as he planned and met priority needs of the facility to help improve the everyday workflow.

“He [Cremers] came out and asked for some ideas," began McGrath. "We had some other Eagle Scouts come out and say they were going to do their project and they never come back, but he was the first one to follow through. So we were excited, and he did a really good job.”

“He kept me in touch with what was doing and kept me in the loop, and he did exactly what he said he was going to do, and it turned out great,” she added.

As stated in the press release, one of the more pressing and costly needs was a new sidewalk that would connect the indoor kennels to the outdoor kennels; an area that can become muddy and flooded when it rains.

“The sidewalk was huge because all we had were stepping stones, and some of those were underwater," McGrath described. "Most of the time so it was really messy and a little unsafe when it was raining."

With a month of planning, Cremers reached out to Ellis County Judge Carol Bush, and the assistance of Ellis County Commissioner-PCT 4 Kyle Butler, setting his proposal into motion.

“I got the contact number for Kyle Butler and asked if the city had any good concrete companies, and he helped me find J.C. Concrete,” Cremers recollected.

Seeing Cremers project as an act of service, the community quickly backed his plan as more organizations donated their time and resources.

“I called the greenery and asked if they’d be willing to donate a few plants and they said, ‘Yeah.’ So I grabbed a few evergreens, so it’ll always be colorful in the garden area,” Cremers explained the finishing touches.

Cremers also mentioned that J.C. Concrete offered to install the sidewalk, and Liquid Stone provided the concrete for the 25-foot sidewalk.

“The staff is thrilled because they’re walking the dogs back and forth all of the time, especially when you take people out there to see the dogs,” McGrath articulated the finished project.

“It's so much nicer to be able to walk out there and not have to worry about going through the mud or stepping in a big puddle. Jake did a job, and the sidewalk is just fabulous," she complimented.

Making a positive impact in the daily life of the SPCA's animals, staff members, and volunteers, Cremers acknowledges that without community involvement, the project's fruition would not have been plausible.

“A project of this scope would not have been possible without the help from Commissioner Butler, and the generosity of J. C. Concrete, Liquid Stone, and The Greenery," Cremers recognized.

“I am deeply grateful for their support of my project, and their assistance to make these improvements at the Ellis County SPCA," he concluded.

To connect with Boy Scout Troop 232, visit troop232.org.

For more information about the Ellis County SPCA, visit elliscountyspca.org or call (972)-935-0756.

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Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer

(469)-517-1450