By Dave Palana
Patrons of the Whitman Town Pool will notice some changes when they go to change their clothes courtesy of Eagle Scout candidate Matt O’Brien.
Tuesday night, O’Brien and his helpers put the finishing touches on a much-needed facelift to the pool house in Town Park O’Brien completed for his Eagle Scout project. The scout from Whitman’s Troop 59 power washed and painted the inside and outside of the pool house, added shelves to the locker rooms and helped organize the materials over the past week and a half.
O’Brien said he decided to pursue the project after his mother’s Girl Scout troop wasn’t able fit it in, but was under the gun to complete the project and submit the paperwork before he turned 18 this week while also having to work around the pool’s hours of operation. He and his helpers did the bulk of their work after the pool closed at 7 p.m. during the week but also made an early-morning trip on Saturday to get some work done.
“It was challenging, but I think it was worth it,” O’Brien said. “We didn’t really run into too many roadblocks we got it done faster than I expected.”
The outside of the pool house was speckled with patches of different colored paint to cover up various graffiti, but the bulk of the work O’Brien did was to the interior which Michelle Winnett of the Recreation Commission said had not been repainted in her 15 years with the commission.
“We could scrub all we want, but that battleship gray was just awful,” she said. “He worked really hard and we’re very grateful. It will definitely make the bathhouse cleaner and more cheerful.”
Winnett said the Recreation Commission has long wanted to overhaul the pool house, but had not been able to set aside the funds. So when O’Brien came to them with his Eagle Scout proposal, they were more than willing to accept the help.
“It’s definitely been a wish list item of ours for years, but we just didn’t have the staff or the money,” Winnett said. “It was desperately needed.”
To raise the money for his project, O’Brien collected bottles and cans while also securing crucial donations for home improvement store Lowe’s and paint supplier Valspar. Between the two companies, O’Brien said he received more than $700 in donated paint and supplies.
“Without them we would be in trouble,” he said. “I’m very grateful for everything they did for me.”
With the project completed, O’Brien is now preparing the paperwork the paperwork that goes to the board of the review for his Eagle Scout badge and will await his summons before receiving the rank. Pool users will be able to take advantage of his work for at least another month with the pool set to close the week of Aug. 17