By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Three Assumption High School students of Troop 20, affiliated with St. Paul the Apostle Parish, have earned the Eagle Scout rank and received their awards during a Court of Honor March 26.
Joe Gassen, son of Mark and Ann Gassen; Connor Bloominger, son of Jeff and Mary Jo Bloominger; and Nathan Roman, son of Kerri Roman and Robert Roman, received the honor during a celebration in the parish’s Denning Hall.
Gassen revitalized the front pond landscape at Clarissa C. Cook Hospice in Bettendorf for his project, earning Eagle Scout rank in 2020, but could not hold a court of honor due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Throughout the process of re-landscaping the pond area I learned to trust myself and the people I worked with,” he said. “Half of being able to do something is knowing and believing you can do it. … My mother, who worked at the Hospice House at the time, came to me with the idea of renovating that pond. The pump was broken and there were animals that were dying in the water.”
The landscape company “was incredibly helpful in the planning process.” Gassen sought to provide a low-maintenance landscape. “We created plans for a dry riverbed. With the encouragement of my parents, I decided to have a commemoration to the military branches (as part of the project). In particular my uncle John who was a Marine Corp veteran had died recently at the Hospice House.”
“What I thought would be a fairly short project,” he said, “ultimately took almost nine months from the beginning of planning until we put the final commemorative rock in place on a bright sunny October day. My family, mentors, Genesis leadership, fellow scouts and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.”
Bloominger, who earned his Eagle Scout rank in 2022, built a tool shed for Tapestry Farms in Davenport. He said he developed a design, raised funds and led the construction of a tool shed for the project at Tapestry Farms’ Third and Brown Street location. Tapestry Farms is a nonprofit urban farm system that honors the knowledge of, and invests in, refugees who have relocated to the Quad Cities. The shed provides a place for them to store their tools for garden plots on which they grow food to take home or sell at a farmer’s market.
“Because it was such a worthwhile project, it was easy to raise funds and gain support,” Bloominger said. “My project coaches were a couple of my dad’s friends who were carpenters at Treiber Construction. When word got to Brad Treiber, the owner, he volunteered to pour a concrete pad to build the shed on.”
Roman revitalized the landscape for Assumption High School’s gym entrance. He achieved Eagle rank in 2022. “I was inspired to do this project because I thought I could give the entrance some more vibrancy and color to the area. Before the project there were weeds everywhere, the mulch was discolored and there were a lot of dead plants just sitting there.”
Throughout the process, he said he learned “the important skills of leadership, perseverance and dedication, as quite a bit of my summer was put into the project.”