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Thirteen-year-old constructs gazebo for Eagle Scout project

PLATTSBURGH The craftsmanship and care that has gone into a gift from a local Boy Scout has not gone unnoticed by local senior citizens. Thirteen-year-old A.J. Couch recently completed the construction of a wooden gazebo on the grounds of Pine Harbour Assisted Living, a senior living community on the citys south side. The gazebo was constructed by A.J. in order for him to receive his Eagle Scout recognition from Twin Rivers Council Boy Scouts Troop 55, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America. The structure, which rests in the front yard of the facilitys grounds, took one week to build, with A.J. and a group of volunteers enduring 10-hour days of labor in often rainy weather. It was the first thing that popped into my head, because I love to build things, A.J. said of his decision to build the gazebo. It was something I felt could help the people at Pine Harbour. I just called, told them who I was and what I was doing and asked if they needed anything. I was told a gazebo would be great for their front yard. Immediately, the enterprising young man began to make arrangements for donations of materials for the project from local businesses and individuals and completing the necessary paperwork to begin the project. Though it was challenging work, A.J. said the end result was well worth it. It makes me feel great that I did something for the good of the community and for the good of the residents, said A.J., who credited the advice he received from his grandfather, Ron Ladue, Chestertown, who is a master carpenter. Were very proud of him, said A.J.s mother, Tina Couch. Hes done a lot hard work to get this done. Hes always loved to build, ever since he was little. Raeanne McLaughlin, executive director of Pine Harbour Assisted Living, said she felt extremely fortunate to have had A.J. choose Pine Harbour for his project. The residents watched the project being built every day and were anxiously awaiting for its completion, McLaughlin said. The even more valuable part was the relationship that A.J. formed with some of our residents while working on this project. The residents continually compliment this young man on his accomplishments and well-rounded personality. Its just wonderful, said resident Jacqueline Smith. We just couldnt believe it. Its absolutely astounding, said Rona Martin, another resident of the facility. I think were almost as proud of his achievement as his parents are. We got to know them and weve enjoyed having them here. Now the project is complete, A.J. awaits final approval for his promotion to the rank of Eagle Scout, a first-time recognition in his family. He said he hopes to hear back from the headquarters of the Twin Rivers Council in Albany within the next month. Pine Harbour is so grateful to A.J., his volunteers and all the local businesses who supported this project, said McLaughlin. The seniors of Pine Harbour will always have this wonderful gazebo to enjoy and recognized everyone who contributed to this project. A.J. thanked those who contributed donations toward the project, who include Lowes, Northern Sanitation, Mooney Bay Marina, Taylor Rental, Curtis Lumber, Sample Lumber, The Cabinet Gallery, Lee Kitchen Carpet and Appliance Center, Champlain Valley Veterinary Services, Wal-Mart, Price Chopper, Aubuchon Hardware, McIntyre Construction, Graymont Materials, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Klein, and Dr. Honorio Dispo.

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