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West student earns Eagle Scout award

Last Tuesday, January 24, 2017, Matthew Brandon Konchel of Downingtown West High School and Downingtown's Hopewell Troop 8 was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest achievement attainable in the scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The designation "Eagle Scout" was founded over one hundred years ago. Only four percent of Boy Scouts are granted this rank after a lengthy review process.


Matthew's Eagle Scout Project / Graduation Project, completed this past summer, involved the design, construction and installation of three (3) fitness stations within the ¼ mile long inner-courtyard walkway of the Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He built a pull-up / leg raise exercise station, a hand-walk / dip exercise station (equipped with a wooden ramp to make it accessible to wheelchair-using patients), and finally, an incline/decline push-up exercise station that also serves as an assisted pull-up / leg stretch exercise station. The Coatesville VA facility does not have any on-site gym facilities, so these stations have been used by many of the retired, wounded, and active-duty military personnel at the VA Facility since the very first day they were completed.  They are also available to other patients at the VA Hospital and the many citizens in near-by communities who utilize that courtyard to run and walk for therapeutic rehabilitation purposes and recreation.


The project, which Matthew completed for a little over $1,800.00, was funded primarily by sponsorship donations from Downingtown VFW Post 845 and Freedom Village at Brandywine, which each contributed $500.00 toward materials.  The rest of the funding was supplied by donations from friends and family members and with the assistance of the Parkesburg Home Depot, which provided Matthew with a discount on materials.  All of the labor was donated by friends, family and volunteers from Hopewell Troop 8, West Chester University, Freedom Village, Downingtown West High School and the Coatesville VA Facilities Department.


Matthew chose this project because he has a great many family ties to the veteran's community and thought this would be the perfect way to give back to those who have served their country proudly and honorably. Matthew's father is a former 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper and Desert Storm Army veteran.  Matthew's paternal grandfather is a Navy veteran, his maternal grandfather and great uncles are all Vietnam veterans, and his maternal great-grandfathers and great uncles were World War II veterans.


Matthew, currently a sophomore student, just turned sixteen years old this past December.