A sign of community

First Posted: 5/16/2014

Eagle Scout Matt Parry of Troop 160 laid bricks near the Newton Township Municipal Building on Winola Road. When complete, Parry’s Eagle Scout project will provide Newton Township with an electric message board, which will flash board meetings and special events happening in the area.

It will have capstones on each side of the pillar and spotlights on the bottom to make it visible at night.

“I want to give back to the community since most people are doing projects in their hometown,” said Parry, who began digging on April 18.

The Abington Heights junior is receiving help and support from his family and the Newton Twp. community to complete the sign. His parents, Mike and Linda , his brother Mike Jr., and his sister Leia are helping him construct the new sign. The family expects to be finished just in time for Memorial Day. The next step is waiting for the township to select the electric board.

“This has been a huge undertaking,” Mike Sr. said. “We’re glad to give him the support he needs.”

The 17-year-old began planning for the project in September 2013. It was approved by Newton Township supervisors Doug Pallman and Kevin Carr in December, but he had to wait until spring to get started.

The board covered the cost of labor and provided funds for materials, such as bricks, concrete, cinder blocks, and mortar.

Local supply companies Masters Concrete Products and Brick City gave discounts for the materials. Connolly’s Home Improvements of Clarks Summit donated time and equipment for the project.

“When Matt approach the supervisors about wanting to build a new sign for his Eagle Scouts project, we had some reservations,” Chairman, Newton Twp. Supervisor, Doug Pallman, said. “Our initial thoughts were although he presented us a great idea, would he really be able to fulfill his obligations? You see, it is one thing for a young man to want to paint a wall, clean up a park or even create a walking path. It is another huge task to want to build a sign that will be the cornerstone for our township.

“Matthew demonstrated a work ethic that many young men and women lack today. He was organized, committed to the project and determined to create a landmark that will be enjoyed for many years.”

Parry was a Boy Scout since he was in the first grade . He’s been an Assistant Senior Patrol Leader for the past two years. His Scoutmaster is Gary Katz of Troop 160, which is headquartered at the Clarks Summit United Methodist Church.

Being a member of the Boy Scouts teaches Parry about hard work and responsibility. That’s why he chose to make the sign for his Eagle Scout project .

“We feel that it’s important to the community,” Linda said. “The scouts have taught him that, and we’re proud of it.”

Matt’s brother Mike Jr. is also an Eagle Scout. Last year, Mike Jr. helped renovate the gymnasium of the Newton Recreation Center.

“I’m really impressed with the project,” Mike Jr. said. “There’s not really many projects to this scale.”

Included in one of the columns, in a 6-inch PVC pipe, will be a time capsule. The Parry family is looking for items such as photos, letters, patches, copies of newspaper clippings or whatever anyone wants to share with our future generations. The items will be placed inside the structure, which won’t be opened for 50 years.

“I’ll be putting a complete set of photos from the project and other scouting photos (in the capsule),” Parry said.

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