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Darien Boy Scout puts on his gardening gloves

DARIEN – The saying goes, "On my honor, I will do my best."

Warren Dawes didn't just do his best when he followed the first line of the Boy Scout oath – he shattered expectations. For his Eagle Scout project, Warren recently took on the task of beautifying the landscape around Our Lady of the Angels Mission in Chicago.

In a project led by the 15-year-old Woodridge resident, 30 volunteers got together to help with weeding, roto-tiling, fertilizing and planting in four traffic islands in front of the church.

Warren – a member of Boy Scout Troop 97 in Darien and freshman at Montini Catholic High School – planted more than 1,000 plants with the group. It took about 173 hours to complete the project after its Feb. 7 start.

"I don't think they were expecting we would be able to get all these really high-quality plants," Warren said. "We bought them straight from a landscape supply."

Warren, who plays on Montini's football team, originally got the idea after he and his teammates did a service project in December in which they collected shoes, clothes and gently used items to donate to the church. After talking with officials there, Warren received approval from the Boy Scouts' Des Plaines Valley Council to carry out the project.

The next step was getting a little help from his friends.

“I went through my lunch period going table to table and talking to my friends about my project," Warren said. "I passed out flyers to them to see if they were interested, but I got a lot of kids signed up in about two weeks, so I was really happy about that."

Warren also needed to raise funds for the project. To do so, he spoke at his church, Our Lady of Peace in Darien, about asking for donations and received a $200 check from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2838.

When it came time to start the project, Warren had collected a little more than $4,000.

The excess money will now be used by Our Lady of the Angels Mission to help maintain its new landscaping.

Warren should be the second in his family to reach Eagle Scout status later this summer since his brother earned the honor in 2009. When he first entered Cub Scouts in first grade with Pack 101 out of Darien, he did so with the intent just to have fun – he saw the camping and canoeing trips his brother was taking and knew he wanted to be a part of it.

"I thought that stuff was pretty interesting and if I had the opportunity to, I'd want to be a Boy Scout," he said.

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