Local Eagle Scout Restores More than a Floor

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By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter, with Linda Detterman

It is hard to find a more iconic institution in Chelsea than the Chelsea First United Methodist Church (CFUMC), serving the community since 1853. And within the beautiful stone walls of this building, lies one room that in many ways has served as the heartbeat of the church in its service.

Room 216 has faithfully served Chelsea for many years hosting groups such as Outlook (weekly gatherings for middle and high school youth), Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Cub Scouts, among others. Its open space also serves as a staging area for several missions’ preparations. If you have participated in the Chelsea Children’s Christmas Bazaar (taking place Saturday, December 4, 2021), there is a good chance the items were made or packaged in that space.

The room holds many happy memories for a lot of people. So, when it came time to find an Eagle Scout Service Project, Alex Detterman, Troop 476, wanted to find something that had both a personal connection and would have a positive impact on the community.

Finding a suitable project during Covid-19 posed many challenges, but the lack of the ability to gather made Alex realize the importance of gathering places for the community, particularly its youth. Working with Dana Schmunk and Jeanne Franks of the CFUMC, he realized restoration of the aging and often musty flooring in Room 216 had all the elements for a project that would fulfill his rank requirements and provide a service to his community for years to come.

Beginning in February, Alex began his proposal to tear out the old carpeting and replace the roughly 1,100 square feet with laminate wood flooring; he was responsible for fundraising the nearly $4,000 in costs, obtaining the flooring materials, and tools, and gathering volunteers to do the work. Plan approvals were many including the Church Council, his local Troop Committee, and the Michigan Crossroads Council which directs Scouts BSA in Michigan.

Covid-19 complicated the effort since much of the planning work was done via Zoom, and Detterman had to pay attention to the latest rules on masking and gathering throughout the restoration work.

“We created a detailed ‘daily’ plan and tried hard to bring in only the volunteers we needed to be sure we could space people out, even though Covid was at its lowest point during the actual project work,” says Alex. There were also flooring material delays as the shipment of the planks that were in short supply and when finally located in Ohio, were lost in transit for a couple of weeks on their trip to Chelsea.

Though initiated and organized by Alex, he is quick to point out that the floor restoration was really the work of the Chelsea community. Over 30 individuals contributed money, and 32 volunteers contributed 231.5 hours to the project, including Mr. Rob Long, a member of CFUMC, who served as both a master carpenter and patient teacher throughout the project.

“I am still amazed at how our community comes together to get things done. This is something I’ll always remember about this project,” says Alex.

If the room could talk it would tell you that it has hosted years of learning, tears of joy and times of struggle, hard conversations, and hundreds of hands doing missions work. It’s more than a floor; it’s a place to stand on as our community restores connections and takes care of each other. And now, it’s ready for more.

Alex Detterman (14) is a Freshman at Chelsea High School, a CFUMC youth member, and a member of Chelsea Troop 476. He successfully completed his Eagle Board of Review on November 9, 2021. He was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. He wishes to thank all of those that contributed to this project, and to CFUMC for having confidence that a youth could undertake a project of this kind all the way to completion.

Photos: Linda Detterman

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