Boy Scout to Eagle Scout
A Vision Of Improving Lives Of Those Living With Dementia
Like many children, Lucas Cronin was touched by the likes of dementia through his Nana. His Grandmother on his father’s side had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease for over a decade. To honor his Nana, Lucas decided to take action. He would lace his passion for salt water fish with a project to improve the lives of those living with dementia.
Lucas decided to construct a salt water fish tank in a memory care center. Although this sentence sounds simple and outcome honorable, there were many parts to make this project a reality.
First was to find supporting data that the salt water fish improves lives. He found the supportive data he was looking for in the below articles. An article which highlighted a Purdue study that states Aquariums may pacify Alzheimer’s patients. The Purdue University research paper showed colorful fish in an aquarium improved the health and well-being of memory care patients. People with dementia were less likely to become agitated, and they ate better when present in a room with an aquarium filled with colorful fish. In fact, according to the researcher, one lady who had not spoken for more than five years, asked, “Are there 5 or 6 fish in there?” Lucas also found another article titled Aquarium therapy which highlights potential health benefits.
His parents Paul and Sally Cronin, along with his brothers Mclain and Elijah all supported Lucas and his vision. Next, was to run the idea by his troop 9559. Assistant Scout Master (ASM) Robert Riegel also encouraged Lucas to move forward with his project. He even volunteered to help on the project as did Co-Scouts Nathan Kaufman, Kyle Findlay, Nick Schroepfer.
So even with a team set up to help there was so much more that needed to be done. Researching how to build a salt water tank, itemizing all the things needed to build and supply the tank, raising the funds to purchase the items and finding a home for the tank when finished. Yes there was a lot of work still needing to be done.
The research was extensive. In fact Lucas discussed his idea with a salt water expert, Owner of Local Fish Store and Maintenance Company “Wet World,” Michael Hunter. Mr. Hunter too decided to get involved and served as an adviser/mentor for some more advanced aquarium techniques.
Raising funds and securing supplies did not happen overnight. In fact, the project took persistence. Lucas had to raise over $6,000 in financial donations from local businesses, family and friends and in-kind product donations from manufacturers and suppliers in the reef keeping industry. This is one of the largest Eagle Projects in the history of Northern Star Council.
Below is List of Donors:
Bulk Reef Supply
Dr. Tim’s Aquatics
Resultants for Business
Valley Creek Builders
You would think finding a home for a free salt water tank would be a no brainer, especially with the data showing the health benefits, but logic doesn’t always follow the path of least resistance in the real world. Getting a name of the right person to talk to and finding time in their busy schedule took longer than planned, only to find several communities did not have money in their budget to maintain the tank, $200/month.
Than at last, Lucas found the perfect partner for his project with the help of Mr. Jim Bradshaw. He introduced Lucas to Boutwells Landing in Oak Park Heights in Minnesota. There he spoke with Deb Campbell, the Director of Activities. Boutwells was thrilled with the project and was grateful to receive this wonderful gift which would enhance their resident’s lives.
Lucas still was in need of information on how to build the physical tank stand and canopy. He had no prior experience in woodworking, so he needed an expert to help him. At Boutwells he found Joe Carufel, a resident who was a woodworking expert. Joe jumped on board to be a mentor to help guide him with his project. Lucas created the designs using a 3-D sketching software and brought them to Joe to review. Together they tweaked the designs a bit and built the stand.
It was nineteen months from conception that Lucas was able to install 190 gallon salt water fish tank.