A while back, we were contacted by the son of one of our CNAs, Tracy Ritter, seeking support for his Eagle Scout project – to rebuild one of the overlook decks on Mill Mountain. Impressed with Wesley’s initiative for such an ambitious undertaking, Gentle Shepherd made a donation. After recently receiving his heartwarming thank you letter, we felt compelled to share the story of his accomplishment and contribution to our community.

Here’s what Wes had to say about the project:

“My name is Wesley Ritter, Tracy Ritter’s son. Several months ago I was struggling to raise funds for my Eagle Scout project – reconstructing of the lower desk of the Mill Mountain overlook. It was a huge project and I had no idea how I would acquire all of the funds I needed. I reached out to dozens of companies and had no luck. So, my mother recommended that I contact you and sure enough, you guys were more than willing to help me reach my funding goal!

I have now completed the project and received the highest rank in scouting, an Eagle Scout, which has been a life-long goal. Not only did you guys help me, but you have also helped to keep overlook visitors safer and now thousands of people can see an improved city thanks to your willingness to support me. The day the new overlook opened, I saw tons of people having picnics, enjoying the wonderful view and posting pictures on social media.

I just wanted to say thank you so much for helping me reach my goals and dreams and tell you that your act of kindness will be passed on. I truly aspire to help like others like you and your company. I have gone on two service mission trips to Mexico and Paraguay, helping to build school houses, and I’m going to Guatemala for two years to serve the people.

Thank you again for your help. Your service is greatly appreciated.”

                                                    Wesley Ritter

Wesley raised $5,000 to reconstruct the nature overlook on Mill Mountain, across from the zoo and nature center. The demolition took several days and about 10 truckloads of wood were hauled to the dump. The old deck was replaced with composite decking, sure to last many years. The entire project took nearly 18 months from raising the funds to completion of the overlook.

Congratulations Wesley for a job well done! Gentle Shepherd is honored to be a part of your awesome project and we appreciate your service to our community and others.

A sweet side story about the photo, above, from Tracy Ritter:  When we went to take a picture of Wes with his finished Eagle Scout project, we waited for the couple in the background to move but they stood there for the longest time, face to face, hand in hand. Afterwards they thanked us for their privacy and said they were renewing their vows. They were married in that same spot 10 years ago! Wes thought it made the picture even better. I agree. Thanks again for making his project possible!