A Beecher City scout is helping out a Shumway organization to fulfill his community service requirement to become an Eagle Scout.
Kenny Robbins, a Beecher City High School sophomore, wanted to help Enduring Freedom Ministries of Shumway to satisfy his public service requirement. Robbins is required to work 100 hours on a community service project to help an organization. An Eagle Scout is the highest commendation a Boy Scout can earn.
“I thought I’d help out someone in Shumway,” Robbins said. “We are a Beecher City based troop and a lot of scouts do projects in Beecher City and I wanted to do something for Shumway.”
Robbins is a member of Beecher City Boys Scout Troop 176. He said he started as a Cub Scout and has worked his way up the scouting ranks over the years and now has the top in sight.
Enduring Freedom Ministries Director Vickie Kight said they are currently working on a major project Robbins will see to the end. EFM is making improvements to a pole barn attached to the EFM headquarters the former Shumway Grade School building.
The pole barn was added to the former Shumway Grade School building after a pickup truck crashed through a wall where the food pantry portion EFM was renting in 2014.
“Emil and Melissa Lagerhausen still owned it then. They got bids to fix the wall and found out it was going to be just as much to fix the wall as it was to add the pole barn to the building,” Kight said. “It took us a year to fund raise for the insulation and another year to fund raise for the furnace.”
The pole barn was dedicated in memory of Fred A. Lagerhausen who served in the United States Army Seventh Division, Thirty-first Infantry Regiment serving in the Korean War. Lagerhausen participated in Operation Smack. Fred A. Lagerhausen’s son, Emil Lagerhausen, and Melissa Lagerhausen were former owners of the Shumway Grade School building and attached pole barn before donating the property to EFM last year.
“When they put the pole barn up the floor was still the asphalt playground and parking lot. We never did anything to the floor,” Kight said.
Robbins said working on construction projects at EFM will allow him to gain experience he can use in the future.
“After I graduate from high school I would like to go to trade school. This is the kind of work I would like to do some day,” Robbins said about choosing to work on the EFM construction project. “This is something I enjoy and want to learn.”
Kight said Robbins is working on all phases of the project.
Over the past month, Robbins in his spare time cleared out the contents of the poll barn, used a sledge hammer to break up and remove the original asphalt floor, helped workers install plumbing, learned how to operate a mini-excavator, operated a skid steer and helped pour and finish a new concrete floor for the pole barn. Kight said a portion of the pole barn will become EFM’s new kitchen area.
“He has to go all of the way until the kitchen is finished,” Kight said about Robbins. “We couldn’t put the new kitchen in until we got new flooring put in.”
“We really outgrew our old kitchen, so this is a much needed addition. It is just too small,” Kight said. “Kenny is really helping us to make this dream come true,” Kight said.
Kight said they are serving 500 people from a two-person kitchen with a small stove during their Saturday soup kitchen. She expects once the new kitchen is finished it will be three times larger than the original kitchen. The EFM soup kitchen is called the Five and Two Restaurant.
In addition to working on the plumbing and flooring, Robbins in the future will help hang drywall for the kitchen, water line and work on the pole barn’s electrical wiring.
The pole barn flooring work is a donation of labor and materials from M.B.I. Construction and CCI Redi-Mix Concrete both of Effingham. Co-owners of M.B.I. are brothers Monte, Jim and Gary Bartels. The company was founded in 1973 by Monroe Bartels.
Robbins worked along side Garrett Bartels, son of Gary Bartels, and crew of M.B.I. Construction of Effingham to help finish the concrete work. Bartels said Robbins is getting some good experience since some of the crew working on the EFM project had worked for M.B.I. for 34 to 35 years.
“It was hard at first. We were dragging a lot of concrete,” Bartels said.
“He’s (Robbins) a quick learner. He’s eager to get in there and help,” Bartels said. “He grabbed a shovel and started helping us right away.”
Robbins is raising money for construction supplies in addition to his labor responsibilities. He raises money through food drives, popcorn sales and Christmas wreath sales.
“It comes out of my scout account to pay for it,” Robbins said.
Kight said the kitchen would not be finished by Christmas, however looks forward to moving into the new kitchen once it is finished. Locker Blessings are scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 26.
“It’s going to take most of the winter because we are doing the work ourselves,” Kight said. “He’ll be here all winter doing stuff.”
Kenny Robbins is the son of Brian and Crystal Robbins of Shumway.
Kight said any family who would like to use the pantry and soup kitchen should call Enduring Freedom Ministries for an appointment during office hours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 217-868-5293 or 217-240-0059.