Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Eagle candidate is holiday helper

Scout makes rocking horses for Brighton Center's Christmas shop

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — At 6-foot-3, Ludlow High School junior Matt Mullins is too big to ride a rocking horse, but the 10 wooden horses he built and donated to Brighton Center will help carry him to his designation as an Eagle Scout.

        Matt, 17, built the rocking horses as part of his efforts toattain the highest ranking awarded by Boy Scouts of America and attained by only 3 percent of Scouts nationally.

        The wooden horses joined hundreds of toys and gifts at the Brighton Center Christmas shop at Eighth Street and Central Avenue to be given to children of needy families. .

        “Actually, I planned on working on this project last year, but I waited too long to start,” the future Eagle Scout said. “This year I started planning well in advance.”

[photo] Melissa Emerson of Newport carries one of the hobby horses donated to Brighton Center by Matt Mullins.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        Jennifer Griola, Brighton Family Center coordinator, said she talked with Matt “several months ago. He was already putting his project together.”

        She said Matt chose Brighton Center as the recipient of his efforts because members of his family had previously volunteered with the agency.

        Once he had a work plan assembled with help from Joan Davidson, a member of the Eagle Scout committee for Troop 11 of Lakeside Park Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Matt said he approached Home Depot stores about obtaining the necessary raw materials.

        “They (Home Depot) were great, they donated everything,” he said. Everything included paint brushes, polyurethane finish, dowel rods and several sheets of plywood.

        “I had planned to use birch for the rockers, but I found it was much too expensive, so the horses are all plywood,” he said.

        The last two of 10 rocking horses were delivered to Brighton Center on Tuesday . In all, Matt spent 10 days on the task, from drawing the patterns to finishing the carpentry.

        “All I need now to finish my Eagle Scout work is to do the necessary paperwork,” Matt said.

        Ms. Griola said the rocking horses were a welcome addition to the agency's shelves. This year was especially critical because many people had donated to Sept. 11 funds and local charities were concerned that donations had dropped.

        The Christmas shop, which runs through Thursday, provides a toy or gift for children under 17, and a basket of food for every family. Ms. Griola said Brighton Center will provide food baskets for about 700 families this year, probably the most families the agency has served at Christmas.


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