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Scouts’ Honor

Two local Eagles earn district recognition

Eagle Scouts Colin Armstrong, at left, and Aaron Ballak, at right, stand with SO1 Zachary Duffy of the U.S. Navy who was the guest speaker at the Eagle Reception Dinner.
Eagle Scouts Colin Armstrong, at left, and Aaron Ballak, at right, stand with SO1 Zachary Duffy of the U.S. Navy who was the guest speaker at the Eagle Reception Dinner.

MINOOKA — Two scouts from Minooka Boy Scout Troop 464 were recognized along with 68 others during Rainbow Council’s Eagle Scout Reception Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Bolingbrook Country Club.

Eagle Scout Aaron Ballak 

Aaron Ballak, 18, learned about directing a group effort when he worked on his Eagle Scout project. Ballak, of Channahon, completed the work for his Eagle Scout project this fall when he reorganized the equipment garage for Easter Seals of Joliet. 

“I pretty much redid the Easter Seals garage,” Ballak said. “I took everything off the shelves and built a new shelf. I built hooks for the walkers (the devices used to help disabled children walk), so they could hang on the walls. I reorganized everything and put all the wheel chairs into a parking lot area that I created on the garage floor.”

Ballak said the project helped him learn about working as a team and being a leader. As part of his project, he directed about 15 others, including family, fellow Boy Scouts from Troop 464, and friends to help him clear and then reassemble the equipment into the garage. In total, the group put in about 120 hours of work.

The work helped the Easter Seals organization because, as Ballak said, “The garage was so cluttered … they (the staff) bought new items not realizing that they already had the needed equipment in the storage garage.”

“Aaron’s project was a godsend to Easter Seals,” said Debra Condotti, president and CEO of Easter Seals Joliet. “We had built this lovely program storage building adjacent to Easter Seals Regional Pediatric Center in Joliet.

“It was unfinished inside and lots of items had accumulated. Aaron designed the interior to be functional for our staff to have easy access to items needed for their work.“

She also made note that Aaron’s mother, Donna, is on staff at Easter Seals.  Ballak had a great feeling of accomplishment when finishing on the project.

Ballak is the son of Donna and Kurt Ballak of Channahon, and is a senior at Minooka High School. He is in the process of choosing a college.

The Eagle Scout rank is the highest rank that a youth member of the Boy Scouts can attain. The requirements include leading a group in a community service project, which requires a significant amount of time and planning. Other requirements for the Eagle rank include earning merit badges in citizenship and first aid areas, and participating in troop leadership and activities.

Eagle Scout Colin Armstrong

Eagle Scout Colin Armstrong, now a freshmen at the University of Illinois at Champaign, replaced 110 feet of sidewalk around the Minooka United Methodist Church for his Eagle Project.

With the amount of planning involved, Armstrong says the project “made me really think about things beforehand, before I do things, before I step into things.”

Armstrong had about a two-month lead on the start of this sidewalk project, beginning September 2011
“The planning process was a lot more involved that I thought it would be,” he said. “You just can’t go and do something. There’s planning, paperwork, phone calls that need to be done ahead of time. You have to think of everything.”

When he finally got to the implementation part of his project in November 2011, he spread the work out over three weekends. With the help of about 12 people, including his dad, brother, fellow Boy Scouts and adult scouters, the group ripped out, then poured and smoothed the new concrete walkways.

Armstrong complemented Dave Jepson from Channahon, who helped him through the logistics of process of moving the concrete and installing it.

Armstrong is a graduate of Minooka High School, and is the son of Sherri and Kurt Armstrong. He is pursuing a chemical engineering degree.

At the Eagle Reception Dinner, Armstrong said he was inspired to hear featured guest speaker SO1 Zachary Duffy, U.S. Navy, who is an Eagle and also a graduate from Minooka Troop 464. Duffy told the crowd of Eagle Scouts to “Earn your Eagle every day.” 

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