Boy Scout Troop 274 member Lucas Keller of West Fargo is going to be playing a significant role in Thursday's Veterans Day observance at the West Fargo VFW as a result of a special project that will honor military veteran's loved ones who have died.
As part of trying to reach Eagle Scout status, Lucas, assisted by family members and fellow scout troop members, has handcrafted 40 oak memory boxes that will be presented during the program on Thursday.
The labor of love has also been somewhat of a 'family affair,' with Lucas's dad Rick helping out, his uncle Tom Keller of Custom Wood Products in Maddock, N.D., donating most of the wood, and another uncle Darin Keller, from Valley Siding in West Fargo, donating the glass.
Lucas started on the project in January and just finished up last weekend toward his goal of achieving 100 hours of volunteer and work efforts combined. Fellow scout members helped out with the sanding, staining, varnishing, and a variety of other odd jobs.
"My uncle Tom had built one for his father-in-law and I thought it would pretty cool to build one for the people who served our country," Lucas said. "My dad came up with the idea to build another ten for the veterans at the Maddock American Legion, so we did that too."
The end products are each intricately exquisite in their own right, featuring two sections, complete with two decorative stars and an eagle badge and a glass door to access the two compartments, one for military memorabilia and trinkets, and the lower one to house the individuals' American flag.
Lucas said he was truly pleased by the end result and appreciative of everyone who pitched in to help. "I feel really relieved that they are done and it is getting me closer to my Eagle Scout rank. I also feel really gratified knowing that the boxes will help memories live on in the lives of veterans."
His mom, Sandra, and his two brothers, Matthew and Nathan, also both involved in scouting programs, have also been most supportive throughout the effort; as has his scout troop leader Steven Fischer.