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Aspiring Eagle Scout Creates New Patio For Newtown Congregational Church



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Karen Banks was walking with her dog around the grounds of Newtown Congregational Church (NCC) one afternoon recently when she found something new. The westernmost section of a gravel walkway along the southern side of the church has been transformed into a patio space.

“This is lovely,” Banks said October 7, her beagle Nellie sniffing around the edges of the recently placed stones.

She is correct. The change is a lovely addition to the grounds, and it was done recently by BSA Troop 270 member and Eagle Scout candidate Jeremy Pankow.

The new patio is one of two now situated on that side of the West Street building. The first has been used regularly in recent months by pastors leading outdoor worship services, the occasional baptism, and other special gatherings.

The second patio provides more space for parishioners and guests to gather for such events. Until the addition of the western patio, hardier parishioners have been utilizing a short but steep hill to the immediate south of the original patio for seating.

In addition to improving the looks of the grounds, the new patio also offers safer access to the area regularly used for outdoor services thanks to the removal of some curbing that previously divided the space from the parking lot.

A senior at Newtown High School whose family is part of NCC’s congregation, Jeremy told The Newtown Bee that doing something for his home church was an easy decision.

“They help so much with Boy Scouts,” Jeremy said of Newtown Congregational Church. “They’re our charter organization. We have our meetings here. I knew I wanted to do something for them.”

Now a Newtown High School senior, Jeremy began his BSA career in first grade while a student at Middle Gate School. He knew, he said last week, when he crossed from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts that he wanted to continue to the final step of achieving Eagle Scout rank.

Planning for his project began a few months ago, he said. Hands-on work started about a month ago, when Jeremy and volunteers began raking gravel and pulled up grass. Fellow Scouts and family members helped with the manpower, Jeremy said.

Donations were received from Ben’s Masonry, which provided the base layer of gravel for beneath the patio; the patio stone from LaurelRock and its president, Burt DeMarche; and Taunton Hill Landscaping, and owner Larry Whippie, who provided edging bricks, stone dust, the use of a compactor and tools, “and his time and expertise,” Jeremy said.

Whippie, who is also a member of the church, does most of the building’s groundwork.

“He helped mentor a lot of this,” Jeremy said. “He was also a liaison for me and the church, because he knows what needs to be done.”

DeMarche also provided crucial advice, according to Jeremy.

“He gave me different options, and pointed out what would and wouldn’t work with the stones,” said Jeremy, who originally wanted brick pavers.

The final step was done during the past week, when Jeremy revisited the church and put down stone dust between the stones. The finished patio measures 13 by 18 feet.

“I’m really happy with the way everything turnout out,” he said.

NCC Senior Pastor Matthew Crebbin is also pleased with the new addition to the church grounds.

“Jeremy did a great job,” Crebbin said October 13. “It’s extra special, of course, because Jeremy’s been a member of our congregation for many years. His family is very active, so we’ve seen him grow up in the church and in the Scouts.

“The patio will really make a difference for us moving forward,” Crebbin added. “COVID has shown us that there are many ways to utilize that outdoor space.”


Associate Editor Shannon Hicks can be reached at shannon@thebee.com.

Newtown High School senior Jeremy Pankow stopped at Newtown Congregational Church after cross country practice on October 7. A member of Boy Scout Troop 270 and the church behind him, Jeremy recently designed and oversaw the creation of the patio he is standing on as his Eagle Scout Project. —Bee Photo, Hicks
One of the first work sessions to install a second patio at Newtown Congregational Church had volunteers pulling up grass and removing gravel from a former walkway space. Eagle Scout candidate Jeremy Pankow is on the right, in the shorts with vertical stripes. —Juli Pankow photo
Karen Banks and her beagle Nellie recently enjoyed the new addition to the grounds on the south side of Newtown Congregational Church. —Bee Photo, Hicks
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