Chaise Congleton, a 14-year-old Boy Scout with Troop 112 in Glide, had a tough time deciding what to do for his Eagle Scout project.
He went into the woods with his father, William Congleton, to find a trail to work on but couldn’t find anything that interested him.
The next day, when the two were hanging out at the Stewart Park Golf Course, a light bulb went off.
“We were just walking on this sidewalk and I’m like ‘Hey Dad, is this the place you got hurt?’ and he’s like ‘Oh yeah,’ and I’m like ‘What if we kinda fix that,’” Chaise Congleton said. “That set off a light bulb in my brain. To make it no longer a tripping hazard, so elderly people and people with disabilities can feel like this is a safer place to golf.”
William Congleton, who lost his leg while serving in the Marines, was hurt on the sidewalk when fell out of his wheelchair on the sidewalk about 13 years ago.
The wheels of his wheelchair got hung up in one of the gaps and William Congleton was launched onto the ground, landing on his stump. The injury meant that he had to have an additional 1 1/2 inches of bone cut off, and a whole new amputation.
But even after William Congleton was hurt, the sidewalk wasn’t fixed and his concerns were seemingly swept under the rug. “That’s what really, really ticked me off,” William Congleton said. “I kinda just ducked out of society after that.”
Even though Chaise Congleton doesn’t remember his dad getting hurt, he’s heard his frustrations about accessibility and hazards and decided to get to work.
William Congleton introduced his son to Scott Simpson, director of golf at Stewart Park Golf Course.
“(Chaise) brought me his proposal and what he wanted to do,” Simpson said.
Simpson was on board and set up a meeting with the City of Roseburg’s Parks and Recreation Department, which owns the land the golf course sits on. Chaise Congleton presented to them, filed the paperwork, ordered the materials and got a crew together.
“The goal is to be boy-led and boy-ran, not dad guiding and dragging,” William Congleton said. “He met with the parks director out here and talked to him. He wrote the proposal. I looked at some of the grammar stuff, but the details I let it be. It got kicked back once, because it was missing a couple of things. But he did it again and got it to their standards. He did all the writing and everything, it was awesome.”
With a stamp of approval, Chaise Congleton completed the project during the last weekend of 2019 with the help of volunteers and Robinson Concrete Pumping.
People went to work to replace the two-by-fours that were rotted out between concrete slaps, causing gaps and hazards. In one spot, they had to install a four-by-four because of the size of the gap and had to do some concrete patching as well.
“The hardest part was getting the boards back in,” Chaise Congleton said.
Chaise Congleton sent off his paperwork on the project and hopes to find out in 2 to 3 weeks if he will receive his Eagle Scout ranking.
So far the response at the golf course has been positive.
“They are really loving it,” Chaise Congleton said. “They gave me compliments. They said it was a really nice thing that I did.”
Simpson agrees, saying, “It was great. He did a fantastic job.”
William Congleton is not just thankful and proud, but also humbled by the way his son took on the project that had caused him so much pain.
“I’ve never been one to really shy away from problems and troubles. In fact, I normally start heading ‘em up head on,” William Congleton said. “He took on something that I didn’t really want to tackle. That I was afraid to even step up to. He fixed it not just for me, but for everybody else out there.”