Grand Haven High School junior Carson Bretz spearheaded the new kits as his Eagle Scout project. He’s a member of BSA Troop 165.
Last week, the 16-year-old organized and oversaw volunteers fill kits for each teacher and the main office at West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics.
Earning the Eagle Scout rank has been a goal of Bretz’s since he was a child, he said. He also has three uncles and one cousin who are Eagle Scouts.
Bretz, who has 43 merit badges, wanted to become an Eagle Scout because of what it represents.
“It’s an honor,” he said. “It leaves an impact on not only yourself but the people you helped.”
Although Bretz had a few project ideas, he decided to make kits for the school where his dad, Jeff Bretz, is also a teacher.
The idea stemmed from his dad’s experience. After moving a rock, it fell and broke not only Jeff’s toe but also his nail completely off. Supplies in the first aid kit weren’t enough to help the injury, Bretz said.
Beginning in July, Bretz turned to businesses and social media to seek materials and monetary donations to make the 41 kits come to fruition. He was pleased to see the outpouring of support, including from people he didn’t know.
The kits include supplies such as gauze, bandages, medical tape, scissors, needles, tweezers, safety pins, gloves and antibiotic ointment. Bretz noted the first aid kit in the school office will also include ibuprofen and tourniquets.
Tighe Carter, the academy’s assistant director, said they were excited when Bretz approached the school about the new first aid kids. Previously, the school had kits that included antiseptic wipes and Band-aids, but what Bretz presented was “a more comprehensive first aid kit,” Carter said.
Carter noted they’ve always had supplies in the office plus two AED/Epi-Pen stations in the building, and the new kits will help increase the safety and their first aid response.
“All of us here at WMAAA greatly appreciate that Carson chose our building to supply the first aid kits and all of the effort that he put into this project,” Carter said. “It is great to see a young community member generating an idea and taking the initiative on a project like this to improve safety in a local school district.”
Bretz mentioned wanting to become an Eagle Scout from the time he joined Cub Scouts, his dad said. After helping a fellow Boy Scout with an Eagle Scout project, he was determined to earn also earn the rank.
Bretz’s mom, Amber, said she’s proud of her son’s efforts, and he didn’t take the project lightly. She said he genuinely wanted to meet a need and “create a project that would make a difference in the community.”
“I am so proud of the young man Carson has become and the leadership and persistence he has demonstrated through this,” Amber Bretz said.
Although the project is officially completed, the next steps include paperwork and a board review before a ceremony to make Bretz’s Eagle Scout rank official.
Looking ahead, Carson plans to join Adventure Scouts to try a new aspect of scouting.