Some young men might be embarrassed to admit an inspiration came from another, but not 15-year-old Andrew Boeke of West Des Moines. He took that inspiration and turned it into his Eagle Scout Award project.
Boeke, a sophomore at Waukee High School, read an article about a Dubuque girl who made blankets for police officers to give to comfort children. He thought that was a great idea, but wanted to put his own spin on it.
He asked friends and family who they thought might benefit from his project. Several people suggested the American Red Cross, including a firefighter friend of his dad. “We take care of the fire,” he said. “The Red Cross takes care of the people.”
After checking with the Central Iowa Chapter to make sure disaster volunteers could use the blankets, he got to work.
First, Boeke needed the fleece material to make his blankets. He approached the local Hancock Fabrics store about a donation, but they were unable to help. A Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant hosted a “tip” night for him which turned out better than expected. Boeke collected more than $185 that night for his Eagle Scout project, and raised $150 more after asking the American Legion Post 737 and VFW for help.
“I actually bought the fleece before I finished fundraising,” Boeke said. “But, I got a great deal because it was on-sale and I had coupons.”
His fellow Scouts, his brother and even a few cousins helped Boeke cut and tie the blankets, and by February 7, 2016, his Eagle Scout project was complete. They had made 39 soft and cuddly blankets for children touched by disasters.
A week later, Boeke and his family dropped them off in Des Moines at the Red Cross office and gave the extra donated money too.
“The kids will love these,” said Chrissy Bristle, disaster program specialist for the Red Cross after receiving the blankets. “It’s wonderful to see a young person like Andrew in our community take on a project that is so thoughtful toward the people the Red Cross serves.”
Boeke will receive his Eagle Scout Award later in 2016. The Red Cross immediately put the blankets with the supplies for disaster responders to use.