Simon Sealy and Tater Kruzel are approaching the end of a long and arduous project — a historic project not only for them but for all of Sealy — as a Veteran’s memorial will soon stand in the center of Abe & Irene Levine Park next to Main Street.
Sealy, a senior, and Kruzel, a junior, are students at Sealy High School and life scouts with Troop 548 here in Sealy.
Practically all materials and labor were realized through community donations to complete the memorial, except for the flag pole which the scouts purchased from their own pockets. The cost was minimal, they said.
The Veteran’s memorial, composed of solid granite, was donated to the scouts by Jim Knesek, along with the concept for the pentagon shape representing the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
The pentagonal concrete slab — pouring and forming — and the walkway was donated by Koy Concrete.
A stainless steel dog tag, cut out with high-pressure water jets and smoothed edges, will be mounted on its own pole but in such a way that it’ll look as if it free floating, especially from a distance, the scouts said.
Dr. Wilford Morris gave the scouts money to purchase two identical benches, which match the rest of the benches in the park, that will rest in front of two concrete slabs that extend off the pentagon.
Two plates will be stationed at the end of the walkway on either side of the cement pentagon. One will list donors — anyone who contributed in any form — to the project and the other will hold the scouts’ names.
The flagpole will sit directly behind the memorial in line with the gazebo in the middle of the park.
Flags for the site will be donated by Kruzel’s uncle, who is in the U.S. Marine Corps.
“One is flown in Afghanistan and one is flown over the Pentagon,” he said. The Marine Corps flag marched approximately 184 miles with Kruzel’s uncle’s platoon during the Marine Corps birthday on Nov. 10 around Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
“We’re supposed to have it complete by my eighteenth birthday, which is the first of May,” Sealy said.
Becoming an eagle scout is the end of a long process that starts in a boy’s adolescence and leads him into manhood.
Eagle scout process itself is a multi-level venture where scouts need approval from their troop committee, scout master, city leadership and the Sam Houston Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, or SHAC, before they can take on the endeavor. Then they must complete a community inspired project that benefits someone other than themselves, family, friends or their troop to demonstrate mastery of civic obligation.
Boys generally have approximately one year to 18 months to become eagle scouts, as life scouts cannot become eagle scouts after their eighteenth birthday.
But, there was a complication with the granite monument. The monument is here but an important portion of it was returned to its maker.
The monument was crafted in a shop out of Atlanta but when it arrived in Sealy the base portion was lacking two significant holes in its sides. A long pole is meant to slide between the holes to lift the 5,000-pound piece onto the platform.
“It’s a delicate deal because, if you don’t do it just right, that granite is going to crack,” said Daniel Cano, the Eagle Scout coordinator for Sealy.
There’s a six- to eight-week turnaround from Atlanta, so the boys are hopeful it gets back here in time, especially Sealy whose window on an eagle scout designation is closing. But, they might be granted a 30-day extension passed his birthday because of the issue, which is out of their control.
Sealy and Kruzel’s journey into adulthood is nearing and, by the time the 9/11 Memorial Wall rolls through Sealy this September during the annual Texas Fallen Heroes Remembrance Program, veterans will be able to fully appreciate these scouts’ effort.