Sophomore Blake Tiede, 16, said he wants to earn one of Boy Scout Troop 434’s highest ranks.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats track team he is on needs its own storeroom.
The solution is an 8-by-12-foot storage shed Tiede began building last week and hopes to finish by mid-April.
But before he could start, the long-distance runner had to clear a few hurdles.
“I contacted Sam Portis of Portis Building,” he said about a family friend who is now the project coach. “I first talked to the Wildcat fund [managers] to bridge-loan the project in late January and sent out donation letters in early February.”
Tiede said local businesses like the Fleet Feet athletic wear store in Decatur helped him cross the financial finish line of $2,000, which has thrilled his high school teammates.
“The best thing is, everyone on the team likes it mainly because it shows the care that the community has for us,” he said about fundraising. “It gives us a feeling that we are really part of the community.”
The project will also keep them from running afoul of benefactors like the Wildcats football squad, which has shared its closet space long enough, Tiede said.
“The storage locations for all the track equipment are spread throughout the school — in teachers’ classrooms, in the current football shed and in different closets,” he said
Practice times could include more actual running, instead of chasing down gear.
“The shed would allow for all the equipment to be stored in one convenient and very accessible location,” Tiede said.
Coach Brad Hendrickson said the amenity will also mean the booster club does not have to shell out for duplicate items.
“Unfortunately, we have experienced vandalism and theft of equipment,” he said.
Hendrickson said he is not surprised Blake is spearheading the project, citing “natural talent, a love of the sport, mental aptitude and training dedication” among the teen’s assets.
“He is always genuine, hardworking, dedicated and honest,” Hendrickson said.