Evan Gill knew a good idea when he heard it. His neighbor, Assistant Fire Marshal Ken Schweiker, was talking to Evan's parents who mentioned that the 13-year-old was looking for a community service project to he could earn his Eagle Scout rank.
Schweiker had a great idea. Every year, the Moorestown Fire Department participates in Operation Save a Life, distributing free smoke detectors to township residents. The department receives 50 free smoke detectors to install in homes, and residents may request up to four detectors. In addition, the department follows up throughout the year with elderly residents to maintain the detectors. Helping install smoke detectors and ensuring that those in need receive them would be a great project for Evan, Schweiker suggested. Evan agreed.
"I thought it was a good idea," said Evan, an eighth-grader at William Allen Middle School.
Evan is working on his project plan, which he will first present to his Scout Master. From there it goes to the Boy Scout Council. In order to receive approval, Evan must show that it is for the community, and not for profit. He also must show management skills in carrying out the plan and perform the work. In addition, Evan is thinking of ways to raise money to buy extra smoke detectors and replacement batteries.
"I foresee this taking off," said Schweiker. "Hopefully this can last a long time."
Evan sees the initiative lasting beyond his Eagle project.
"This could be a continuous scout project," said Evan, a member of BSA Troop 44 in Moorestown. "It would be great to keep it as a service project for the troop."
In addition to working toward his Eagle Scout, Evan serves as a den chief for a Cub Scout Pack.
"Evan really enjoys scouting," his dad, Joe, said. "The troop does a lot of different activities. Sometimes scouts get a bad rap, but there's a lot of things they wouldn't get the chance to do if they weren't scouts."
For more information about the Moorestown Fire Department smoke detector program or for information about placement of smoke detectors, call Ken Schweiker at (856) 234-1222, ext 15.
For more information about BSA Troop 44, call (856) 437-0883.