Long completing Eagle Scout project

Published 1:58 pm Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dustan Long works on putting together the playground equipment at Hope United Methodist Church Sunday afternoon. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

Dustan Long works on putting together the playground equipment at Hope United Methodist Church Sunday afternoon. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

Edwardsburg Boy Scout Dustan Long decided for his Eagle Scout project to build a playground.

But not just any old playground. He wanted to raise nearly $15,000 to provide Hope United Methodist Church with a state-of-the-art playground.

While most Eagle Scout projects call for a path to be built or maybe a fence, Long, a member of Scout Troop 593, wanted to go above and beyond.

To make the project even more difficult, he wanted to complete the project prior to school starting and his 18th birthday.

Last weekend, Long and his crew of family and friends began erecting the playground. He plans on completing the project in the next week or so, just in time for the beginning of the school year.

“I still have some more fundraising to do, but the total will be between $10,000 and $12,000,” Long said Sunday afternoon. “I changed the playground. This one cost less, but it had more stuff.”

Long had hoped to complete the project by Sunday, but some missing bolts and a part kept the group of volunteers from getting that accomplished.

He planned on calling the company Monday morning and get the additional items he needed to complete the project en route.

Long also has to get the mulch that he plans to put down around the playground equipment. That originally was going to cost about $1,200, but he was hoping to get most of it donated.

Long ordered the playground equipment four weeks ago.

“It came in pretty quick,” he said. “The truck bringing it here broke down, but that worked out pretty well because we couldn’t get the thing excavated until this weekend.”

The fundraising portion of the project got off to a bit of a slow start, but Long never wavered in his plan to accomplish his goal.

When asked if there was ever a time he thought the project might not get finished, Long said no.

“I always knew I would get it done,” Long said. “We ran into a few issues here putting it together, but it is going to get done in the next week or so.”

Long said he knew for sure he was going to complete the project when the fundraising hit about $9,000.

He received donations from businesses, individuals and even former Eagle Scouts.

“I emailed a lot of notable Eagle Scouts and they all gave me donations,” Long said. “The former CEO of Exxon Mobile (an Eagle Scout) sent me a check for $500. Later I got another check from him. I didn’t know if it was a mistake or not, so I called him. I was not just going to cash them both and feel good about that.

“It turned out that it was a mistake, but because I had called him and asked about it without just cashing the check, he said to go ahead and cash them both. I was very happy about that.”