Friday, October 4, 2019

Lifelong love of local library inspires Eagle Scout project

Jamie Louko (photo by Tammy Louko)
By Briana Bizier

Not many seniors in high school can say they have led a construction project, submitted building permits, or faced the town board. Yet Windham High School student and Raymond resident, Jamie Louko has done all three as part of his process to become an Eagle Scout.

Think of getting the rank of Eagle Scout as going through high school with a very big project at the end,” said Dr. Nick Bizier, Eagle Scout and Windham High School chemistry teacher. “By the time you apply for an Eagle Scout, you have to have shown proficiency in many different areas.”

That big project at the end must be a contribution of value to the community. Prospective Eagle Scouts must propose their project to the BSA and then execute the project themselves by leading other scouts and members of the community.

There was no doubt in my mind that my Eagle Scout project would be at the library,” Louko told an audience of over sixty community members at the dedication of his completed service project, an outdoor gazebo dedicated to the memory of Raymond volunteer and community leader Betty McDermott. Louko spoke to the audience at the gazebo’s dedication, he shared fond childhood memories of reading the Warriors children’s book series in the back of the Raymond Village Library while his parents browsed the adult sections. With his Eagle Scout project, he hoped to share his childhood love of reading with the next generation of Raymond children. Inspired by the gazebo in the Raymond community garden, Louko decided to build a similar structure closer to the library. Louko presented his service project plan to the Raymond Library Board of Trustees in May of 2018 and received their enthusiastic approval.

However, as Louko discovered during the course of the gazebo’s planning and construction, building Louko’s original plan for the gazebo proved to be too close to a land lot line, and his application for a building permit was turned down by the select board. This setback forced a creative reevaluation of his original plan.
projects are rarely straightforward.

We were forced to move to the front of the library, which ended up being an even better place to build,” Louko told me. “I am very thankful because I think it was for the better.”

After submitting his revised plans to the select board and finally acquiring his building permit, Louko needed to contact donors willing to provide supplies for the actual construction. Several organizations generously agreed to provide the building materials, including P&K Sand and Gravel, Hancock Lumber, Roosevelt Trail Garden Center, Machine Lumber, and Louko’s neighbor David Lind.

In order to turn a pile of donated supplies into a beautiful gazebo, Louko turned to the other members of Troop 800. “The only workers I had to help build my project were either scouts or scouts' parents,” Louko said. “Leading my fellow scouts is an important step in doing my project because it teaches me so much about how to lead effectively and what my leadership style is.”

The Eagle Scout project gets at the heart of what experiential learning really is,” Dr. Bizier added. “It teaches you to make lots of those little adjustments that are necessary to bring a complicated project to life.” the case of Jamie Louko’s Eagle Scout project, his gazebo both embodies and honors the spirit of community service. Before construction began on the gazebo, the Raymond Village Library Board approached Jamie about dedicating the structure he planned to build to Raymond resident and longtime volunteer Betty McDermott. Louko agreed, adding that the McDermott family are his next-door neighbors.

This is a great example of how Eagle Scouts can honor the past and contribute to the future through service to their community,” Dr. Bizier, Louko’s former chemistry teacher, adds. “I think it’s a wonderful thing to be an Eagle Scout.”

The new gazebo is open to the public and can be found just outside the Raymond Village Library at 3
Meadow Road.

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