Eagle Scout candidate to install 16 birdhouses

Photo by Barry Levine

Photo by Barry Levine

ALBANY -- The members of Boy Scout Troop 3 won't be sleeping in today.

Instead, they will be helping out fellow troop member and Eagle Scout-hopeful Oscar Spruill, 15, install 16 bluebird houses at Willson Hospice House.

"The patients here at Willson Hospice House love nature," the Westover High School freshman said. "They love being outside."

The effort is Oscar's Eagle Scout project, which originated from Katie Hughey Gatewood's donation of the houses in honor of the couples that hosted her engagement party earlier this year -- one birdhouse for each couple -- as a thank you for their generosity.

A family friend then agreed to build the birdhouses for them.

"Dr. (Chuck) Lingle offered to build the birdhouses for this project, and then we got hooked up with the Boy Scouts," Gatewood, who has experience volunteering for hospice, said. "I think it will make a big impact.

"Everyone loves watching birds. This will bring joy to patients and their families."

Lingle, who represents District 4 on the Dougherty County Commission, has some personal connections to the cause of expanding hospice care.

"My mother and father both had hospice, and I felt I needed to pay back," he said. "I have a shop at my house, and I had scrap lumber I was OK'd to take."

The houses took him just a few days to build.

"I put my heart and soul into it because I wanted to get ready for the grand opening," Lingle said. "It will serve so many people. Life begins in nature, and also ends that way."

In all, 14 Boy Scouts are expected to be at the 320 Foundation Lane facility starting at 7:30 a.m. today putting the birdhouses in place.

The Audubon Society will also assist in the installation process.

The project helps the hospice house meet Audubon International requirements to maintain Silver Signature status.