Eagle Scout project soars, showering Doernbecher with boxes of books

Looking for some good news? Here’s an uplifting story about a Glenfair Neighborhood young man – whose effort to earn his Eagle Scout wings really paid off for sick little kids …

Glenfair Neighborhood’ Jeremy Hodges smiles as he looks over cases of books, loaded up in the family car, destined for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
One of the seven requirements towards becoming an Eagle Scout is to “plan, develop, and give leadership to a community service project.”

Reynolds High School freshman Jeremy Hodges, who lives in outer East Portland’s Glenfair neighborhood, wanted to help Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in a meaningful way.

“When I called them, they said what they needed most was children’s books,” Hodges told us. “So, I started collecting books. I was aiming to get 500 of them.”

But, as we learned when he delivered the books to Doernbecher, Hodges overshot his mark by a factor of three times. “We’re delivering 1,550 children’s books – books of all kinds. Some are in Spanish.”

Fortunately, they have a really big wagon at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital! Sandy Westfall, Child Life Specialist and coordinator for the Department of Child Life helps move in the cartons of boxes.

On March 24, with the help of his family, Hodges loaded up his parents’ car and they all drove up to the hospital.

When Doernbecher Children’s Hospital’s Child Life Specialist and coordinator for the Department of Child Life, Sandy Westfall, saw all the books Hodges had collected, she said she was glad they have a specially built heavy-duty wagon sufficient to transport them.

“1,500 books, no way!” exclaimed Westfall. “We have children here of all ages; this donation makes a huge difference. This is a great project! You did a good job!”

Kids’ books are important, Westfall said, because the patients use a “constant flow of books” in all areas of the hospital. They’re in waiting areas throughout the hospital, the Sleep Study Program area, play areas, and placed for kids to take to their rooms, she said. “Some books end up in the hands of kids who want to take them home – and that’s fine with us.”

About his project, Hodges said, “I’m glad I was glad my project will be helpful to our community.”

Westfall added, “This is wonderful! Books are the best!”

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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