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To Whom it may concern,
It is my pleasure to introduce an angel that lives in my home. My son Zach Baker, is a 13 year old amazing young man. Zach is the oldest of five children and is a caring, thoughtful, and incredibly compassionate child and brother. Zach is a very service oriented person. He is involved in a myriad of service projects. Zach belongs to the National Junior Honor Society and the Renaissance organization (academic and service organizations) at his school, Molasky Junior High School. He also participates in church activities, is an incredible pianist, and is a remarkable student with a voracious appetite to learn and understand the world around him. Zach is going to be an eighth grader at Molasky Junior High School in August 2006. He has been in student government, serving last year on the student council. He is a straight "A" student and also participates in all accelerated classes, is in the advanced mixed choir, and is a member of the drama club at Molasky Junior High School.
Zach began participating in cub scouts at the age of eight and began Boy Scouts of America at age 11. On June 4, 2006, he turned 13 years of age. In the Boy Scouts of America, young men have until their 18th birthdays to earn scouting's highest the rank of Eagle Scout. Zach will be one of the youngest Eagles I have ever heard of. Zach has earned 29 merit badges so far in his two years in scouting and is currently a Life Scout.Zach found out about the dire need for wheelchairs and help needed for the Iraqi children after I told him about e-mails I had exchanged with Richard Davis, a friend of ours, who is a U.S. Air Force Major and orthopedic surgeon, who was stationed in Balad, Iraqi. According to Major Davis, Zach learned that many Iraqi Nationals are fighting for their country alongside the U.S. and Coalition Forces. The hospital Major Davis was a surgeon at is the largest hospital in Iraq. Zach learned that there are not enough wheelchairs for everyone that is injured. Zach also learned that U.S. Soldiers notice that most of the Iraqi children in Bagdad and other cities do not have shoes or socks and that there was a great need for both wheelchairs and shoes and socks.
Zach wanted to help those that could not help themselves. Many people that Zach initially spoke with about pursuing such a lofty goal, including scouting leaders and committee members, advised Zach that he may be getting in over his head and that perhaps he should look for any easier task for his Eagle Scout Project. Zach decided that even if it was too difficult or too complicated to get approval for the idea as an Eagle Scout Project due to the distance of Major Davis etc, that he would still pursue the effort to help the people of Iraq and the soldiers, and perhaps choose another project for his eagle. Zach always believed that this project was so very much worth any effort it would require.
Back in March of 2006, Zach began his efforts by contacting the Public Affairs Office at Nellis U.S. Air Force Base, and with their help, found Nevada Soldiers Angels. Through many telephone conversations, he found that they were willing to assist in shipping the donated wheelchairs and shoes and socks to Iraq at no charge to us. Zach finally received approval from the scout organization to begin his project.
Zach began by spending several hours researching and calling local medical supply businesses and hospitals, along with shoes stores and Wal-Mart and Target Stores in an effort to see what support was available to gather donations for the supplies needed to ship to Iraqi. Zach made numerous personal presentations to businesses and to his various church organizations as well. Eventually, Zach was able to have fellow scouts, people from our church and the business community get behind this worthwhile project.
Zach worked for over four months planning and contacting members of his church and the medical and business community to carry out his plan to help injured Iraqi Policeman and Soldiers as well as Iraqi children. Zach's original plan was to try to come up with 5 wheelchairs and 50 pairs of children's shoes to be given to Iraqi Nationals by our U.S. Military as a goodwill and humanitarian gesture.
Over the last few months, Zach led 40 individuals in donating time and resources that enabled him and others to end up gathering 23 wheelchairs, 4 walkers, 266 pairs of shoes and 243 pairs of socks. The project took over three months to prepare for July 15, 2006, that day Zach and Nevada Soldiers Angels were finally able to have Fed-Ex pick up and the shipment of the items and send them to Iraq. Zach and others expended over 124 total hours of effort on the project. A total of over $2,000 in donations was raised by private donors and businesses provided over $400 in contributions. Many people also donated used wheelchairs and purchased shoes on their own and then donated these items to Zach for his project.
I have never been more proud of Zach in all of his 13 years and that is really saying something, as there has never been a moment that he has ever disappointed his mother or I. Zach is the epitome of all that is right with America's youth and exemplifies the ideals of Boy Scouts of America. Although, Zach would never ask for or try to garner any limelight for this great accomplishment, I hope that he can get some recognition and congratulations on a job well done.
Michael B. Baker
Soldiers' Angels Nevada
HOOOAAAAHHHHH to Zach for going above and beyond to help our Heroes help others. You are an exceptional Angel, a credit to the Boy Scouts, and a remarkable individual. Job very, very Well Done!
Be sure to visit the Nevada Soldiers' Angels blog to leave your messages for Zach!