By Karen Blackledge
The Danville News
DANVILLE — As a runner on trails at Hess Recreation Area, Alek Matunis noticed the entranceway could use some improvements.
He knew Bob Stoudt, director of the Montour Area Recreation Commission which operates the area, through Boy Scouts.
Stoudt recommended what was needed.
As a result, 16-year-old Alek from Mahoning Township turned the work into his recently completed Eagle Scout project.
He constructed a new sign, with a white background in green lettering, for the entrance, refurbished the metal gates and added landscaping and a rock garden.
The work included sandblasting the gates on each side of the entranceway and painting them orange for safety purposes.
He and others cleared numerous weeds and junk, including railroad ties, from the area so they could install the rock garden, with white stones, and perennials including butterfly bushes a man donated.
The new sign for the recreation area is aluminum with a wooden frame. He estimated its size to be 16 inches by 22 inches.
“The neighbors all like it,” said Alek’s dad, John Matunis.
So he could buy materials and the plants, Alek held a fundraiser at Rita’s Italian Ice. The Danville American Legion Post gave him a donation toward his project.
His troop, Boy Scout Troop 39, of Grove Presbyterian Church, helped along with his family, including his dad, mother, Kim, and brothers, Adam, 9, and Aidan, 13. Aidan is a Boy Scout and Adam is a Cub Scout.
Also assisting were Alek’s grandparents, Robert and Joanna Sarisky, of Millville.
“I figure there was about 200 hours,” Alek said of total time invested in the project.
The junior at Danville Area High School said, “It was a lot more work than I thought it was going to be.”
A Scout since first grade, Alek began work on the project about a year ago.
At school, he runs cross-country and is a member of the track team. He’s been on the cross-country and track teams since seventh grade. Alek joined the yearbook staff in 10th grade.
Following graduation, he plans to be a physical therapist.
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