By Starrla Cray
WAVERLY, MN As an aspiring Eagle Scout, Jake Thisius of Waverly is committed to serving his community, and the return of the “Welcome to Waverly” sign is proof.
“The council is very pleased that Jacob chose to restore an important piece of Waverly’s history and return it to its rightful place at the entrance to the city,” Mayor Ken Antil said.
The sign disappeared in 2001 during Highway 12 reconstruction. Thisius said his parents missed seeing the blue and white welcome, so he decided to bring back the sign as his community service project for the Eagle Scout Award.
“It was still in pretty good shape when we took it out of storage,” Thisius said.
He spent more than 100 hours this summer installing the sign and landscaping the surrounding area.
“There was plenty of time spent on the project,” he said. “I liked doing it. I know in years to come I’m going to be really glad I did it.”
Jerome Williamson of CR Electric volunteered his time to do all of the electric work for the sign, and Boy Scout Thomas Hertzog, as well as Thisius’ friend Wayne Zitzloff, helped with the landscaping.
Waverly city staff members John Rassat, Jim Woitalla, and Greg Pawelk also assisted with the project.
“We were happy to offer our support and the support of the city staff to get this project completed,” Antil said. The sign restoration and landscaping were paid for mostly by donations from the Waverly Lions Club and the City of Waverly.
Thisius, who will be a junior this fall at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School, has until his 18th birthday, June 8, to complete his requirements for the Eagle Scout honor.
“I still have to finish one merit badge,” he said. In order to advance from Life Scout to Eagle Scout, Thisius has to earn a total of 21 merit badges. These badges are awarded for achievement in valuable skills such as first aid, emergency preparedness, family life, camping, and more.
“Some are harder than others,” Thisius said. “Some are hands-on, some are just sitting down.”
One of his favorite merit badges was earned for taking care of pets.
“I like animals a lot,” said Thisius, who has a black Lab named Jet.
Thisius’ dream of becoming an Eagle Scout began when he was a Cub Scout in kindergarten. His father, Steve, and his uncle were also Eagle Scouts, and it helped them in many aspects of their lives. Thisius’ father told him it even helped with job opportunities.
“That pushed me,” Thisius said.
After high school graduation, Thisius said he might go to college to become an engineer, but he hasn’t finalized any plans yet.
Throughout his years as a Boy Scout, Thisius grew closer to his father.
“My dad was the cubmaster,” he said. “He made it fun for everyone and told jokes.” Now, his father is involved in the troop as an assistant scoutmaster.
“He encourages me if I hit a roadblock,” Thisius said.
Thisius said he also values the friendships he made while in Boy Scouts.
“I know one of the things I really, really liked was going to the camps,” he said. “It was a chance to bond with all the other boys and get to know them better.”
Being involved in Boy Scouts “helps you grow up a little” and develop maturity, he added.
In addition to his involvement in Boy Scouts, Thisius is also a member of the football, basketball, and track teams at HLWW.