If you have visited the Milligan Bohemian National Cemetery south of Milligan on Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day you have seen their beautiful avenue of flags. Now, thanks to the Eagle Scout project of Braden Capek there are more flags to enjoy.
Capek contacted the cemetery board with several ideas for projects and ended up embracing the opportunity to place pipes in the ground for 40 more flags running east and west in the cemetery.
“I had to get it approved by the cemetery board and then talk to the members on the board, and I talked to the Legion as well,” explained Capek.
Capek was in charge of getting the materials including poles and hardware and spent quite a bit of time laying out where the holes for the flags would be dug and prepping the holes for concrete.
The first step in the project was drilling holes in the posts and assembling the hardware for holding each flag. Capek got some help from his Boy Scout troop (Exeter Troop 218) and Legion member Randy Capek for this step.
After the poles were assembled, the flag positions were flagged out by Braden and Randy before the holes could be dug.
Braden Capek described the next step in the process, “I had a crew that helped dig the holes, Dale Luzum helped with his skid loader and drill attachment. Then I had another crew when we poured the cement and placed the pipes.”
In total, Braden and his crew spent approximately 56 hours on the project.
Braden looked at several opportunities for serving his community of Milligan but started to focus on the cemetery just a few miles from his home. He also wanted to honor military members as he recently lost his grandpa who served in the Korean War, “That was a big part. Plus it was something that needed to be done. It honors the veterans in my community who are deceased and this makes sure that there are spots for the future.”
The biggest challenge for Braden was “getting everyone together and working with everyone’s schedules to show up on time.”
He had a lot of help from the community as well as his troop members. “I had roughly ten who helped from the community. Most were legion members, cemetery board members and my family members.”
Legion member Randy Capek guided Braden in the project and felt, “He did all right. He did a good job.”
“We had put this project off for a few years and we were glad to see it done. It needed to be done as we had run out of holes. The flags will be paid for by Braden, too,” explained Randy Capek.
“We did 40 holes but 25 spots are already filled. A lot of them are local Milligan Legion members who we didn’t have a flag out for.”
“Braden completed a project that not only honored our Veterans but gave back to his community and taught him valuable skills leading others and communicating with several different groups,” explained Troop 218 Scoutmaster Dean Bartu.
Braden has used funds he raised selling popcorn and participating in other fundraisers with his Boy Scout troop to pay for the project. The poles for the project were donated by Teneco/Walker (out of Seward) but the rest of the costs will come out of what Braden has earned with his troop.
Not only has Braden made a lasting contribution to his community but the scouting program has given him “things I can carry with me my entire life. It’s given me a lot of skills and values that are very helpful.”
Through scouting he has had some very special opportunities including attending the 2017 National Jamboree which was held in West Virginia. This past summer he had planned to participate in a trek at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico but it was cancelled due to COVID.
Throughout his scouting career Braden has spent countless hours serving his community and his church in Milligan.