Even before he began school, Colton Meyer had a knack for building impressive bridges and buildings out of simple Popsicle sticks.
To this day, his mother remembers how, when he was 3 years old, his designs and creations wowed her and her husband.
So, it seemed only natural that this weekend – as well as last Sunday amidst gloomy fall weather – Colton, now a 17-year-old Starpoint High School junior, would choose as his Eagle Scout project the restoring and rebuilding of a 1,400-square-foot brick pathway behind his parish church, St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church in Getzville.
“This came as no surprise. He has a real eye for design,” said Denuelle Meyer, her sleeves rolled up, pitching in on the project.
Over the course of three days, about 40 to 50 volunteers worked a total of 300 hours on the effort. The bull work began last Sunday, as tree roots were removed and the path was dug down to its original base.
On Saturday, Colton, who has been a Boy Scout for a decade, again was hard at work behind the church, leading a crew of 15 volunteers that included his two brothers, his sister and his parents. They worked diligently to re-lay 10,500 brick pavers on a winding path alongside the 14 stations of the cross in a reflective area behind the church.
“It’s a cool project to bring it back to life and hopefully people will use it,” said Colton, who remembers not long ago looking at the overgrown, grassy path during his religion classes and realizing how badly it needed attention.
The Rev. Jay W. McGinnis, pastor of St. Pius, was elated with the progress he saw Saturday afternoon. Just the fact that the path now is clearly visible is noteworthy.
“I can’t say enough for Colton and getting this project engineered,” he said. “For the parish, it’s a wonderful thing to have this restored. It’s a contemplative, reflective place for parishioners to come and pray quietly.”
Colton’s motivation and work ethic are inspiring. He has raised about $600 in donations from the community and family, with enough left over that he hopes to use to buy a few composite wooden benches for the reflective area and also for the nearby stone grotto that he helped build a few years ago.
His Eagle Scout project goes even deeper. It’s his family’s church and the place where Colton was baptized, celebrated his first Communion and was confirmed.
“It’s kind of a full-circle thing,” his mother said.
Scoutmaster David Fischer of Troop 47 stood nearby, taking in all the hard work, some of it done by graduated Boy Scouts now in their 20s who returned to help.
The path holds special significance. It’s the same brick path that was first constructed about 20 years ago, in part by Colton’s father, Don Meyer, who at the time was working for a landscaping firm. Over the years, the path became overgrown, and partly waterlogged, and sections of it becoming sunken, hard to find and unnavigable.
Several months ago, as father and son chatted about a possible Eagle Scout project for Colton, the church path emerged as the perfect choice.
On Saturday, father and son, along with others, were on their hands and knees re-laying the original brick pavers that are now out of production – work that required extra attention to detail.
“Hopefully, they’ll last another 20 years,” said Don Meyer, kneeling alongside the path as he worked with a mallet to secure the brick pavers back in place.