Eagle Scout Builds Veteran Memorial Garden
Thanks to the efforts of one local eagle scout, Holiday Retirement’s Monarch Estates has a wonderful tribute to the brave veterans of the U.S. armed forces. Nicholas Zuk, a 14-year-old from Auburn, Alabama, recently completed an extensive project to build a Veterans Memorial Garden at the community for all residents to enjoy.
Since its completion, the garden has quickly become a favorite spot for local residents. They can spot various species in the butterfly garden, sit at one of four benches and read a book, or even convert one of the benches into a table to enjoy a picnic or play a game of cards. The garden also includes two raised self-watering planters and a solar-powered birdbath and fountain. Nicholas was careful to ensure all residents could enjoy the garden by making the circular path that runs throughout the area compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. A flagpole also was installed in the garden by retired marine and former police officer Jamey Popwell, who operates the charity Flags for Vets.
The project took nine months and 525 hours to complete. Nicholas spearheaded the work, doing everything from designing the garden and sourcing materials, to building features such as the benches and garden boxes, to fundraising in his community. While Nicholas did the majority of the work, he was fortunate to have help from friends, family members, fellow Scouts and local businesses and professionals.
For residents of Monarch Estates, especially the veterans, the garden is a meaningful tribute to the men and women who served in the military.
“We live in such a disposable, fleeting age. Our acknowledgement of important events is usually relegated to a hashtag, profile picture skin or an insincere social media post asking for prayers,” said Amanda Baker, resident experience coordinator at Monarch Estates. “When we build monuments and memorials, especially for a population group like our country's veterans, what we are doing as a society is making sure that these people will never be just a footnote in a history book or erasable hashtag. I think monument and memorial builders like Nick bring peace to today's older people, because they realize that their contributions to ensure the spread of freedom and equality will not be forgotten.”
The project meant just as much to Nicholas, who comes from a line of veterans.
“As the son of a disabled veteran and grandson of veterans on both sides of my family, I knew in Cub Scouts already that I wanted to design and build a place for people to remember those veterans who gave their lives for our country. It has been an honor to be able to work on this memorial garden, and I hope that it will be a special place for you to gather and remember your loved ones,” wrote Nicholas in his dedication of the garden to Monarch Estates.
The project helped Nicholas become an eagle scout, the highest rank in scouting. He is the youngest in his troop to earn the honor.
Much more than a lovely garden, Nicholas’s project is a heartfelt tribute to the memory of past veterans. Thank you, Nicholas, for all your hard work and dedication in building this beautiful commemoration of our country’s veterans.
For more pictures of the garden, please visit Nicholas’s project site: https://nzeaglescout.weebly.com.
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