Marietta resident Roman Hirschi joined the Boy Scouts a little more than two years ago and has rocketed through the ranks.
Currently, he's working on his Eagle Scout project, a toy drive to collect gently used toys and games for the Salvation Army to distribute to children and youth in need, from newborn to 18 years old.
Hirschi contacted officials at Marietta High School, Putnam Elementary School and the Ely Chapman Education Foundation and got permission to place donation boxes at those locations. Groups such as the high school's Key Club are assisting in the schools, and Hirschi said he is learning a lot about citizenship, leadership and service from the individuals he's interacting with for the project.
Hirschi plans to take the donations to the Salvation Army on Dec. 14 and continue in service even after he attains his Eagle Scout goal.
Question: How did you come up with the idea for this project?
Answer: I went on the Internet and I looked up Eagle projects just to skim over some Eagle projects other people had done, and I came across "toy drive" and that sounded really nice for this area.
School: Ohio Virtual Academy.
Family: Parents, Helen and Dean; sister, Adelaide.
Project: Collecting used toys for the Salvation Army.
What the Salvation Army does is they have this big room called the toy room. And they give the toys to children that are in domestic violence (situations) and fires. At Christmas, they try to buy new toys (for children in need), but sometimes they run out of money, so they go to this toy room and they wrap up the toys and send them out to the children that need them.
Q: I understand that there's an emphasis on older children?
A: All these other charitable places give toys to kids that are 12 and under... but they don't go above to 18, so I'm trying to get a lot of toys in that age group.... They (the Salvation Army) need as many toys as they can get in that age group.
Q: How can people contribute?
A: They could look through their toys and find what toys they no longer want. What they do is they bring it to these specific schools and put them in the boxes. And then basically I will come in and pick up the toys and bring them home, then I will have Scouts from my troop sort the toys from the good toys to the dirty and need-fixing toys.
Q: What are you learning through this experience?
A: I am definitely learning that I can't do this project by myself; I have to reach out to people for help. I could not put a box just on the street or something; I have to have help from people to show me where I could put it. From Mr. Butch Wiseman (Eagle Scout coordinator) I've learned where I could get my boxes from. I got (them) from a warehouse that some people own.
It was a surprise to me to learn that service is not free. As part of my project I am recording mileage, costs associated with posters and flyers, etc.
Q: What do you like most about Scouting?
A: I love that I can actually learn things that will help me in life. It can expose me to things that could be a potential job or it can teach me how to save lives or what would happen if I were to be stranded somewhere.
Evan Bevins conducted the interview.