During the past decade, Richard McKee, a sophomore at Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School, has been actively involved in community service projects.
As a member of Boy Scout Troop 483 at Reserve Fire Hall in West Seneca, the 15-year-old achieved the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout, the youngest ever in his troop to do so.
He put a lot of thought into his project.
"I decided to develop a project that would provide needed school supplies for children in war-torn Iraq," Richard said.
He collected enough supplies through donations from "local VFW Posts, Office Max and a few other places," that combined to create at least 50 school-supply kits.
Richard placed the kits in 2-gallon plastic bags and sent them overseas. The McKees paid for the shipping costs themselves.
"These kits will not only directly benefit many children of Iraq but hopefully help with the peace and rebuilding efforts of our soldiers currently over there," said the Lackawanna teen.
Richard's mother, Linda McKee, said that "these really were complete kits, more than I would send my kids to school with on their first day.
"Richard knew this was a big deal and he worked very hard."
In school, Richard is active in Drama Club, Mock Trial, International Club and was recently inducted into the Duns Scotus Chapter of the National Honor Society. He received the Academic Achievement Award for the 2004-05 school year.
"Richard is a fine example of a true Timon man," said Bishop Timon-St. Jude principal Thomas Sullivan. "I believe values [that] the Scouts, Timon and his parents have instilled in him will prepare him to be successful in life."
Richard explained that since "there were a lot of the older guys who helped me get as far as I did with my Eagle Scout project, it's now my turn to help encourage and advise the young Scouts."
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