Eagle Scout project offers a lasting legacy: Funeral chapel renovated

Samuel Bowers is the recipient of the 2022 Eagle Scout Project of the Year.

Samuel Bowers, an Eagle Scout from Scouts BSA Troop 267 of Fredonia, is the recipient of the 2022 Eagle Scout Project of the Year award for the BSA Allegheny Highlands Council.

This award was presented to him during the Council’s Annual Meeting and Awards Recognition Brunch held on Jan. 28 at the University of Pittsburgh, Bradford Campus. Allegheny Highlands Council serves the youth of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties in New York, and McKean and Potter counties in Pennsylvania. Among the many requirements necessary to achieve Eagle Scout rank, one of the most notable is the Eagle Scout Project. The Scout must develop, fund, and manage a service project to benefit the community.

Bowers’ Eagle Scout Project was a complete renovation of the funeral chapel at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cemetery in Silver Creek. The chapel had not been in use since 2009 due to its condition. It was no longer a suitable place for mourners to say goodbye to their loved ones.

As a result, all final funeral prayers were done at graveside, no matter the situation or weather conditions. The project was inspired by a very personal experience after the death of Samuel’s grandfather.

He found it deeply upsetting to see his elderly grandmother struggling through the service outside in windy subzero temperatures and deep snow. So he made it his mission and project to put the funeral chapel back into service. With the backing of Scouts BSA and the Rev. Dan Fiebelkorn from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, he moved forward with his plan.

Samuel was able to accomplish this meaningful project through the very generous donations of parishioners, community members, and businesses. He was assisted in design and installation by his Uncle Frank Pagano, Uncle Mike Pagano, Uncle Louis Pagano, his father, and other family members, scouts, and friends. The project took about one year to complete, making use of generous financial and material donations, and 1,053 hours of donated labor. The project included the replacement of the floor, wall paneling, sidewalk, landscaping, altar, seating, vents, and a thorough set of new interior decorations, equipment, and supplies.

The front door was overhauled, and various other general building repairs were made. The nearly 100-year old chapel never had electricity, as there was no electric power available in the cemetery. Bowers’ project also included the installation of a power pole in the cemetery, and the addition of electricity to and lighting in the chapel. A heater was also added, for comfort.

This extensive renovation and upgrade now allows funeral goers to say their final goodbyes inside the funeral chapel, in a safer and much more comfortable environment. The project was graciously and enthusiastically supported by the church parishioners.

In a bittersweet but fitting conclusion, the project was put into service for the first time at the passing of Samuel’s grandmother, one of his most passionate supporters of his project.

Eagle Scout Bowers is a member of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s national honor society, as well as a National Youth Leadership Training graduate. He was recently awarded the Chautauqua County American Legion Boy Scout of the Year in June 2022.

Bowers has served as Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 267, and is in the 2023 National Jamboree Contingent being held at Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. Bowers is an honor student attending Silver Creek Central School, and is a very active member of his school, his church, and his scout troop. He is the son of Marianne and Ron Bowers of Sheridan.


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