Getting by with a Little Help from Friends

J.D. O’Gara
Eagle Project Sprouts Community Collaboration
Boy Scout Lucas Pocher, shown, sought an Eagle Scout project and got a lot of cooperation from family members, volunteers, the Downtown Marigold Project, Holliston in Bloom, Ahronian Landscape and even the Holliston Highway Department to make a beautiful addition to the Central Burying Ground at Holliston Town Hall. Photos by Mark Ahronian
Issue Date: 
August, 2018
Article Body: 

What started out as an Eagle Scout project blossomed into a community effort this summer, adding some life and color to Holliston Town Hall’s central burying ground. Lucas Pocher, inquiring about the needs of the town, contacted Selectman Mark Ahronian, asking for suggestions for a project to organize. With a stroke of serendipity, the project grew into an impressive effort, ending with a hydrangea garden.
After Lucas reached out to Ahronian, Bobby Blair notified Ahronian that the American Legion Downtown Marigold Project had received a $1,000 donation from a resident that the group wanted to use to plant blue hydrangeas.
The flowers would be planted in a 250’ x 5’ planting bed on the side of Holliston Town Hall where the central burial ground is located. “It’s where some of the founders of the town are buried,” says Ahronian.
Lucas organized a crew, and the Downtown Marigold Project Fund financed the blue hydrangea. Holliston in Bloom also got involved, donating funds for complementary white hydrangeas, and Ahronian Landscaping chipped in to donate bark mulch and a few more hydrangeas. To cap it off, the Holliston Highway Department, directed by Sean Reese, donated 10 years of composted soil for the project, and Frank Chamberlain, who works with Community Preservation in town, got involved as well.
“It was all about collaboration,” says Ahronian. “I thought it was a great project. No one organization could afford to do this. It’s a good story, for people to realize that although it takes longer to organize a collaborative effort, you get things done you wouldn’t normally be able to get done.”
The area, says Ahronian, “shows respect for our central burying ground, and it makes the town look welcoming and beautiful.”
Ahronian, who owns Ahronian Landscape, acted as an advisor on the project. “This is the 3rd or 4th time I’ve been an advisor for an Eagle Scout project,” he says. “They really do a lot for the community. They show up with 15-20 scouts and get a lot of work done. They’ve done a lot of things all over town, including the rail trail, helping out building raised vegetable garden beds at the senior center ad at the police station working on the grounds there.” In this case, Ahronian helped with equipment by demonstrating to the boys how to properly plant the perennial plant, explaining mudholing and how to massage the roots so they don’t get rootbound.”
Lucas explains that the Eagle Scout project is actually just part of a pretty large process in attaining the rank. Since he joined Cub Scouts at age 6 in Troop 73, Lucas has worked his way through a number of merit badges, camping trips and leadership positions up to this point.
“Not everything you do in scouts is recreation. I’ve been actively working toward my Eagle for six years. Now that I’ve completed the project, I’m going to have to finish my writeup for it and send it to council.” If he attains Eagle Scout, Pocher will be among only 4% of Boy Scouts who do so. A Scout must earn 21 merit badges, demonstrate that he has lived by the principles of Scout Oath and Scout Law, show leadership in Scouting and his community, and complete an Eagle Scout service project
“I’ve always been on the path,” says Pocher. “Some of my best friends I’ve met in scouting. It’s a worthwhile experience to go to meetings and trips and rewarding to get badges to advance, and it was just the natural progression.” Lucas has been on a number of trips with the group, including a trip to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2016.
Lucas’ father, Joe, was a family mentor to Lucas in the project.
“My father was great. He was a huge help. I had to do the planning, and he was always great for advice. He worked in landscaping in the past. He and Mr. Ahronian, of course, was a huge help, and he helped me greatly on the actual work date.”
The first work day, Lucas, who’ll be a senior in high school this coming fall, organized a team of about eight scouts and leaders from Troop 73 on two different days to get the work done. “That was really more than enough for the type of work we were doing,” he says. Although the work took longer than the boys expected, Lucas was satisfied with the way the project turned out.
“We planted (the hydrangeas) at the start of a huge heat wave – it took longer than expected. It was like 95 degrees working out and the sun was brutal. The plants took some damage, but it already looks better than it did,” says Pocher, who, with his group of scout volunteers will have to keep the plants watered all summer. “I think it came together nicely.”