One local young man is doing his part to make the lives of others better. The community can do theirs to help him out.
Dylan Robison is a 15-year-old sophomore at Pulaski County High School. He’s also a member of Boy Scout Troop 424, which meets at the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Robison is aiming to become an Eagle Scout. It’s prestigious honor, the highest rank a Boy Scout can reach, and requires going above and beyond the norm, including organizing and pulling off a substantial community service project.
Robison’s will benefit the Pulaski County Alzheimer’s Respite Center located on University Drive.
“My great-grandmother (Mary) used to go there,” he said. “... (This project) means a lot because they really took care of (her) and I just want to repay them.”
Robison will be setting up tables at the local Wal-Mart store this Saturday and next Saturday both, launching a supplies drive for the Alzheimer’s Center.
“They’re all government-funded,” said Robison. “Everything they get supplies-wise is through donations.”
Robison used to visit the Alzheimer’s Center frequently when Mary was there — it was previously located on South Maple Street in Somerset. He became familiar with the center and what enriched the lives of the Alzheimer’s Disease patients there.
“(Mary) would come home with little knick-knacks they’d give her,” said Robison.
He got the inspiration for the project one day when talking to personnel there at the center.
“I just saw the list (of needed supplies),” he said. “I had the idea and brought it to them.”
According to the National Institute on Aging, as many as five million Americans age 65 or older may have Alzheimer’s Disease (www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers), a brain disease that affects memory and cognitive skills. Those with the disease often have a hard time managing daily activities that were once simple to them, and while treatments exist, there is currently no cure.
The Alzheimer’s Respite Center provides a place for those with the disease to go during the day, to give their caregivers a break, and provide an atmosphere for socialization with others and brain-exercising activities.
Kathy Balltrip, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Center, is pleased to have Robison’s help in making life better for those who visit the facility.
“Speaking from the director’s point of view if it weren’t for people in the community (helping out), we wouldn’t be able to keep our doors open,” said Balltrip. “People in the community doing drives (like this one) and volunteer work to bring attention to our cause is greatly appreciated.”
Robison will be at Wal-Mart from approximately 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday and on Saturday, March 21, with tables set up and an available list to hand out of the center’s needs. Those entering the store can buy the items while in the store and bring them by when finished, or come straight to the store with the items in-hand.
Needed items include table cloths, coloring books, nail polish, and numerous other such things, said Robison.
Robison’s troop leader, Adam Richardson of Keystone Financial Group, noted how the project “hits home” for Robison, and how proud he is of the high schooler.
“It’s exciting to see a young person come up with a project like this on his own,” said Richardson. “It’s not something we encouraged or gave him ideas for. It’s all his idea. It’s very heartwarming to see a young person in today’s world take interest in the older generation.”
Robison, who was in Cub Scouts at age 8 and has stayed within the scouting family since then, is Richardson’s oldest scout, and would become the second Eagle Scout in the troop, with two more likely on the way, noted Richardson.
“I really want to get the Eagle Scout (rank) and want to help them out (at the Alzheimer’s Center),” said Robison. “That would mean a lot. ... You get to do a lot of fun stuff (in Boy Scouts), get out of your comfort zone and learn things you’ll need in life.”