Eagle Scout Brings Comfort at End of Life

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At age 16, Dominic Tritchler of Maple Grove is becoming an Eagle Scout a year earlier than most earn the distinction. According to the Boy Scouts of America, the purpose of the Eagle project is to demonstrate leadership while performing a project for the benefit of their community. But, Dominic did much more than that when he created a prototype, cut, routed, sanded, and varnished 35 wooden crosses for Our Lady of Peace Hospice. He gave patients something to hold on to as they passed from this life to the next.

Death is no stranger to Dominic whose grandmother spent her final days at OLP. And, with the help of his grandfather, he found a way to honor her memory by providing comfort crosses to those following close behind. “Grandpa is a supporter of Our Lady of Peace and he’s made a lot of friends there,” says Dominic. “I connected with them through his relationships, and we came up with the idea of comfort crosses. Grandpa funded the project, and I invited fellow troop members to help hand sand them.” Dominic applied the varnish and polyurethane for a beautiful finish. 

Dominic says the project took 72 hours from brainstorming to the final product. Once completed, the Scout Master signed off on the project, and the crosses were delivered to Our Lady of Peace. Dominic says, “It was nice to give back to such a great place. It’s homey, and the people are nice. It was nice to give back to such a nice place, and every cross I make gives someone at end of their life something to hold and feel comforted by.” Needless to say, Dominic’s grandfather is extremely proud of his grandson, and Dominic thinks grandma would be too. No doubt that is true.

We asked OLP Chaplin Judith Oberhauser how patients are reacting to Dominic’s gift of comfort. She said, “When I present a comfort Cross to a patient at the hospice residence or out in our hospice community, invariably the patient holds it in their hands and for a moment, the conversation ceases. It’s as if they finally know in their time of crisis that someone understands and is with them.” She adds, “The psalm text, ‘Be still and know that I am God’ silently fills the room and the patient, family, friends, and staff are connected in a moment of sacred trust. This trust both stuns and saddens us but it also becomes a doorway into mystery, surrender, and profound peace. The boy scouts who crafted these crosses with Dominic need to know they are doing holy work.”

Well done, Dominic.

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