Flags raised in local Eagle Scout project
WORTHINGTON -- During his nine years in the local Scouting program, Josh Kleve has garnered 35 merit badges, but the one he's had to work hardest to attain is that of the Eagle Scout.
On Monday night, Kleve and a dozen of his fellow Boy Scouts in Troop 134 gathered near the railroad tracks at the intersection of 12th Street and First Avenue in Worthington to raise the flags in a display Kleve has worked on planning since May.
"I got the idea from a lady I sold popcorn to," said the 17-year-old Kleve of the trio of flag poles that now fly the American, P.O.W. and Minnesota flags.
That lady who helped plant the seed was Suzanne Hagen, a member of the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce's Community Improvement committee.
"(The committee) worked first with Matt Sorensen for the rock down here," Hagen said. "We were kind of throwing around the idea ... that the rock could use something, and then we got ahold of Josh. It was a perfect setting."
Earlier this month, Kleve and his fellow Boy Scouts worked to build the foundation and pour the cement for the flag poles after holes were dug by one of Susanne Murphy's crew members. Murphy also serves on the Community Improvement committee.
Monday night's celebratory flag raising was the culmination of more than three months of work by Kleve, who hopes to apply for the Eagle Scout honor for the project. In addition to putting many hours into the project, he was also tasked with raising money to make it a reality.
Through contributions from the local Eagles, Kiwanis, Elks, the city's park and rec committee and numerous businesses and individuals, Kleve raised $1,100 --enough to buy all of the materials for the project and still have $250 left over. That money will be placed in a flag replacement fund.
"It's been really hard making it up all the way to this point in my Scout life," Kleve said Monday night. "Not many Boy Scouts get up there. It's a privilege to be at this rank. I'd like to thank all my contributors and all the people who supported me along the way and been with me in my Scout life. My years as a Scout have been very wonderful.
"I would like to pay my respect to all of the fallen veterans from our community," he added. "By creating this project I pay my respect to the people who've fallen in battle."
Kleve is the son of Nicole and Will Galicia and grandson of Bill and Jean Kleve. He has an uncle who earned his Eagle Scout several years ago. When Josh wanted to get involved in the Boy Scouts, it was Bill who made sure he was at the meetings and other Scout activities, Jean Kleve said.
Troop 134 is sponsored by St. Matthew's Lutheran Church.
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.