Zac Hiemenz, Rice, earns his Eagle Scout award

Damaged trees were cleared from church park, shelter repaired

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

Zac Hiemenz, 17, and a senior at Sauk Rapids Rice High School, earned the rank of Eagle Scout this past summer. He was awarded the badge and pin at the Eagle Scout Court of Honor Dec. 2, at the Sauk Rapids American Legion. Hiemenz is a member of Boy Scout Troop 4 in Sauk Rapids and the son of Gena and Robert Hiemenz.

Hiemenz joined scouting late in life. He was 14 years old when he first attended a meeting with his friend, Nathan Hahn.

Zack-Hiemenz“I really enjoyed the evening,” he said. “The kids and the leaders were great, all very welcoming. I was there for the troop elections and wanted to be a part of it.”

The best part of scouting for Hiemenz is earning the badges. He said both the electives and the badges for life skills have shown him areas he may have never learned about.

To become an Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout needs to earn 12 of the 14 Life Skills badges. They include communications, first aid, camping, family life, personal fitness, personal management and others. The other badges are electives. With each one, a scout may learn about rock climbing, swimming, music, photography and many other hobbies.

A total of 21 badges need to be earned to become an Eagle Scout. Hiemenz has earned 29.

“My favorite badge was for wilderness survival,” said Hiemenz. “I had to spend the night in a shelter that I built myself. I could bring two items with me, but they both had to fit in my pocket.”

Hiemenz chose to bring flint and steel (one item) to start a fire and paper towels for kindling.

An Eagle Scout must also show leadership within his troop. Hiemenz held positions of assistant and senior patrol leader, Webmaster, patrol leader and scribe.

For his Eagle Scout project, Hiemenz chose to assist Annunciation Catholic Parish in Mayhew Lake with cleaning up their ball park area.

“With help from friends, family and my troop, I had the trees which were damaged during a storm in 2011, removed,” he said. “I organized the rebuilding of the players’ benches, redid the facia on the park shelter, replaced some door frames, cleaned the siding and also stained the building.”

The project began New Year’s Eve, 2011, when Hiemenz contacted a church representative concerning the project. He then drafted a plan which was approved by his troop leaders and the Boy Scout Council office in Sartell in March.

There was measurements to be taken, then revisions. More measurements taken and more revisions. Hiemenz wanted the project completed by the time the church had its annual picnic in the park.

Hiemenz’ uncles, Danny Hiemenz and Ronald Pick, and cousin Troy Pick, helped with the facia work. Uncles Marvin and Arnold Hiemenz and his father cut up the trees that were either leaning or completely down, while members of Boy Scout Troop 4 helped haul the wood away. Arnold and Marvin, along with a friend who is also an Eagle Scout, Kenny Simon, helped stain the building.

Part of the project was keeping meticulous records. He kept track of how many minutes he spent doing each segment and who helped. That paperwork, along with the original plan, a review of the project and pictures documenting each step, was sent in September to the Boy Scout Eagle Board of Review and to the national office in Irving, Texas.

“The entire project went very smoothly,” Hiemenz said. “The biggest problem we had was matching the stain for the building with the facia.”

A big surprise for Hiemenz came during the church’s annual picnic. After Mass, he was called to stand in front of the congregation to be presented with the St. Joseph medal. St. Joseph, a carpenter, is also the patron saint of workers.

Boy Scout Troop 4 has produced five Eagle Scouts since Hiemenz joined in 2009. Currently, he is the only member of the troop to hold the honor.

Future plans for the Eagle Scout include college at the University of Minnesota – Morris or St. Thomas. He plans to study creative writing and theater.

After college, he hopes to become an adult leader in the Boy Scouts as well as a counselor at a Boy Scout camp.