When one thinks about an average teenage boy they don’t often think of a kid who’s offering to work additional hours at a part-time job and volunteering his time to help restore a playground for a local church. However, those who know 17-year old Ethan Peck associate those things, as well as a number of other impressive attributes, to him.
Like all kids, Ethan is special. Yet what makes him stand out from other kids his age isn’t his ability to excel academically, or to outrun his opponents in a cross country race, but rather, it’s his desire to serve others that moved VUE Magazine to select Ethan as this month’s Difference Maker.
What brought Ethan to the magazine’s attention is a community service project he is performing for the preschool children at Immanuel Baptist Church. The project is one that he has selected to do as he sets out to earn his Eagle Scout rank.
The playground at Immanuel Baptist Church has sat unused for years now. It is out of date and therefore does not meet the standard requirements for children’s playgrounds. Ethan has been a member of the church since he was a child. He feels a strong connection to the community of Christians who worship there, so he decided to do a project that would give something to the younger children of the church. Helping to renovate the playground was the perfect opportunity to do so.
“I grew up in this church,” Ethan says. “Ever since I was in preschool, there was a little playground (at the church) that no one has used for a long, long time. Miss Dana approached me about restoring the playground as a possible project to earn my Eagle Scout rank. It seemed like a good project for me so I decided to do it.”
Restoring a playground takes time, manpower and money. Ethan’s first step in completing this project was to secure funding and materials that could be used to build a shaded area and resting spot for the children to take a break from the hot sun during a day of playing hard on the playground. Ethan also needed materials to clean up the playground equipment and to apply surface materials that would create a safer environment for the children to play.
After making a number of phone calls to local businesses, friends and family, Ethan has raised quite a bit of local support to begin work on his project. He hopes to break ground this month and to complete the project before winter.
“I want kids to be able to go out and use the playground instead of it just sitting there rotting,” Ethan says. “I’m going to dig up the old playground and lay Astroturf and sand. I’m replacing the fence with galvanized fencing so that it won’t rust. I was able to get some metal roofing donated for an awning and we’ll remove the rust from the playground equipment so that kids can begin using it again.”
Ethan is ambitious and he’s dedicated to serving others. In fact, becoming an Eagle Scout is no simple task. Only about five percent of Boy Scouts will ever go on to achieve this honor. It requires dedication and hard work during a season of a young man’s life when things like video games supersede the desire to become a leader in one’s community. In order to complete his Eagle Scout, Ethan will have to earn 21 Eagle Scout merit badges, gain the approval of the Eagle Scout board of review and complete a number of other tasks over the next six months.
“Ethan is always thinking of someone else,” says Greg Peck, Ethan’s dad. “He’s always concerned about another person’s feelings and if he is able to make another person happy then he gives 110% of himself to make that happen.”
In addition to his service through Boy Scouts, Ethan works part-time as a bus boy and has developed a reputation for being a hard worker there, as well.
“Ethan is a great worker, a great employee,” says Jared Jones, manager at Texas Roadhouse. “You don’t always expect a 17 year old to be mature, but Ethan understands the importance of what doing his job well means to the other employees who work here. The fact that he does all of this and he’s working on becoming an Eagle Scout, to me, is pretty cool.”
West Kentucky Garage Builders will present Ethan with a $250 check. He will also be entered among 12 other Difference Maker award recipients to win $5,000, half of which will benefit a charity that the grand prizewinner selects. An online video interview with Ethan has been produced by Socially Present and can be viewed at inthevue.com.
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