Cruz Strom and residents at the Madrona House on Bainbridge Island enjoy the new gazebo built by Strom and his volunteers. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Eagle Scout builds Madrona House seniors a place to relax

Cruz Strom, a 15-year-old Eagle Scout from Bainbridge Island, built a gazebo for use by Madrona House residents.

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — Western Washington may not be known for abundant amounts of sunshine, but with the completion of a gazebo on the grounds of the Madrona House, residents there will be able to get a respite from the sun’s rays during their daily walks.

Cruz Strom, a 15-year-old Eagle Scout, built the 10-by-12-foot wooden structure with park-style benches at the edge of a grassy field next to the facility, and it’s already a hit.

“I walk every day, several times of day, and I love it,” said Ruth Masters, a resident at Madrona.

Strom undertook the project at the suggestion of Pastor Dan Wymer, the pastor at his church, Bainbridge Island First Baptist, which is also the next-door neighbor of the Madrona House on Madison Avenue North.

“Someone had mentioned to him before about maybe building a sitting area out here,” said Strom. “So I looked into it and decided that would be a good eagle project to do.”

Inspired by another gazebo he found on Bainbridge — he said he cannot remember its exact location — Strom sketched out his design and then rounded up volunteers from the community, including fellow scouts from his troop to bring his vision to life.

Troop 1496 Scoutmaster, Doug Dudgeon, said Eagle Scouts are encouraged to pursue projects that fit within their lives outside of scouting, which made this project perfect for Strom — the gazebo sits next to his church and provides a benefit to the community as a whole.

The project becomes more meaningful and personal “when a scout can find something that brings together lots of important things in his life,” explained Dudgeon.

When asked if there were any challenges in building the gazebo, Strom said “there really hadn’t been any; I think everything went pretty well.”

Strom also received donations and discounts from places such as Loews and Ace Hardware on items such as lumber, screws and bolts, which helped keep down the cost of building the gazebo.

The result is a destination for elderly residents who want to get outside on a beautiful day.

“It’s a quiet place for residents to go and enjoy some fresh air,” said Jennifer Ellis, the director of resident services at Madrona.

And on a recent July morning, it was the perfect place for the planned barbeque held as a thank you from the residents and staff of Madrona House. Picnic tables were set up inside the gazebo, and the group of residents, staff members and the Strom family gathered to talk, eat and enjoy the balmy 70-degree day.

Barbra Gibney, a memory care resident, said that she “thought the gazebo was very nice” and loved how “carefully it was built.” Her visiting husband, Jack Gibney, agreed with her. Jack also added that the gazebo “is a wonderful place for residents and kids.”

— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at mkrulish@soundpublishing.com.

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