Over a year ago, Saline Fire Chief Hoeft went to Boy Scout Troop 416 to ask if any Eagle Scout candidates would consider rebuilding the community billboard in front of the Saline Fire Hall at Harris and Michigan.
Andrew Bonczyk, who will receive his Eagle Scout Rank in June, took up the Chief's challenge. After drawing up plans carefully, Bonczyk took out the old community events sign, which was hard to use, falling apart, and so small that nobody could read the posters unless they were standing right next to the billboard.
"It took about a year, and it was probably more work than anyone imagined, but this is excellent, and it's hundred times better than the old one," Hoeft said on Memorial Day, as he, the Bonczyk family and Boy Scouts gathered to celebrate the building of the billboard. "It's been fun to watch Andrew, his family and the troop work on this. We're very proud of it."
The new billboard is 85 inches wide, 80 inches tall, features a study wood trim and a rock-solid brick base. Because it's so much larger, the can advertise twice as many events - while still dedicating more space to each event.
A plaque with Bonczyk's name will be affixed to the billboard.
"So every time you drive by, it's something you can be proud of," Hoeft said. "It's a good story for 20 years from now when you're driving by with your kids in the car.'
Andrew, the son of John and Cynthia Bonczyk, said it was a long process and there were many helpers along the way. He thanked them, including fellow Scout Alex Isaacs, other scouts, scouting dads, the fire chief. His father, an engineer, was also a big help.
"Dad was saying when this was done, it would withstand a category five tornado. I might doubt the possibility of that, but it's no less a sign of the strength of the community around us, and the way we do things together," Bonczyk said.
The Saline Area Chamber of Commerce changes the posters in the billboard every couple weeks.