The Carbon County Special Olympics yesterday honored a Penn Forest Township teen for constructing bocce courts in Lehighton for their competitive games.
Jake McGeehan, a senior at Jim Thorpe Area High School, was recognized during a ceremony at Baer Memorial Park, held on the bocce ball courts that he built.
McGeehan, the son of Jack and Robin McGeehan, is a member of Boy Scout Troop 555 of Penn Forest and built the courts as an Eagle Scout project.
Recognized, too, were members of his Scout troop and other individuals who assisted him with the project.
Maureen Foster, president of the Carbon County Special Olympics, said the program was held on "Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day." Shriver is the founder of Special Olympics.
It was noted that McGeehan and his helpers spent about 500 hours constructing the regulation courts.
They have wooden frames with pavers separating the courts. Each is the regulation size of 60-by-10 feet.
Foster said the Special Olympics is "thrilled with our beautiful, new bocce courts."
She added, "This is the first thing we can call our own."
Present at the program was Victor Pituch of Lansford, coordinator of the annual Senior Games. He said the bocce courts will be used at his events next year.
McGeehan, who is hoping to attend Penn State University and major in mechanical engineering, said he started the project on April 21. He noted that fellow scouts, family members, and even interested citizens assisted him.
In between working on the project, he juggled schedules that included high school track, cross country, and band.
Foster praised Lehighton borough officials for their assistance.
Foster was also recognized during the program.
It was pointed out that she had been named the state-wide, Special Olympics' "Manager of the Year" recently during a leadership program held in Harrisburg.
She and her husband, Farley, reside in Jim Thorpe.
She was one of Carbon County's Special Olympics founders seven years ago.
"We have the best athletes that inspire all these volunteers who come out and spend their time," she remarked.
At the program were 10 members of the Carbon County Special Olympics team who competed in a bocce game at the conclusion of the special program.