Zachary Matuszczak, a 16-year-old sophomore at Fremd High School, recently received the highest ranking possible in Boy Scouts. On Novemer 13, he became an Eagle Scout.
Matuszczak is a member of Boy Scout Troop 209 which meets at First United Methodist Church of Palatine. The troop has more than 100 members which hail from Palatine, Inverness, Hoffman Estates and Rolling Meadows.
When Boy Scouts decide they want to become an Eagle Scout, they are required to choose a service project that will benefit the community, and they must also find a way to fund it.
Included in the project is required paperwork, documenting every action taken to complete the project from start to finish.
“I definitely learned leadership, I didn’t think it would be so hard to direct everyone who helped me to complete this; it took a great amount of teamwork, but it was worth it,” Matuszczak said.
Matuszczak chose to construct medical dolls for his community service project. The dolls are given to seriously ill and traumatized children while they stay in the hospital.
He himself had a serious eye injury as a young child and benefitted from a medical doll.
“Doctors and nurses use these dolls in a variety of ways, to help calm down a child and use them to build instant rapport with children,” said Debi Matuszczak, Zachary’s mother.
Zachary was able to garner donations to purchase supplies to make the dolls, in addition to gathering the manpower to construct them. He received help from fellow Boy Scouts and scout parents who offered their sewing skills.
His initial goal was to donate 200 of them, but Zachary ended up with 208 dolls, which were gladly accepted by Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn. He also included handmade puppets as an additional diversion for kids at the hospital.
Roughly 5 percent of all Boy Scouts ever reach the ranking of Eagle Scout, according to Paul Matuszczak, assistant scout master for Troop 209 and Zachary’s father. The first Eagle Scout award was given in 1912.
“This is a big deal for me because it’s a very high rank, I’ve had the goal of getting it since I was 12-years-old,” Matuszczak said.