VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Gathered inside the large and still unfinished "Flight Rehabilitation Pen" at the Carbon County Environmental Education Center, which is Steven Hutta's Eagle Scout project, are from left, Paul Montemuro, Michael Hutta, Shawn Hutta, John Hutta, Steven Hutta, Frankie Hutta, Daniel Hutta, Darren Behan, Justin Yaich and Franklin Klock.
It's common knowledge that Boy Scouts are known for giving aid to those in need but, in one particular case, the roles have been reversed. Two local Good Samaritans have come to the aid of a Scout in need of assistance.
Scout Steven Hutta, a member of Troop 555 in Jim Thorpe, has been working on his Eagle Scout project to build a large structure called a "Flight Rehabilitation Pen" at the Carbon County Environmental Education Center (CCEEC) located at Mauch Chunk Lake.
The size of the project has required a large amount of lumber which was stacked next to the building site.
Unfortunately, before his Eagle Scout project could be completed, someone stole what was left of the lumber needed to finish the job.
This eventually came to the attention of the father of one of Steven's fellow Scouts, Darren Behan, as he and his son Declan prepared to go along with the Scout troop on a recent canoe trip.
While on the trip, as they were sitting at dinner one night, Darren asked Steven about the lumber theft and he confirmed that the wood was stolen from the site.
Behan said that he slept on it for a day and towards the end of the canoe trip he asked Steven if he could assist him in any way to help replace the lumber that had been stolen.
When Behan, who is a chef at Molly Maguires Pub & Steakhouse in Jim Thorpe, got back to his job, he spoke with Justin Yaich of Jim Thorpe who was having lunch one afternoon at the restaurant.
Behan mentioned that he was just back from the canoe trip with his son and that he had heard something unsettling about one of the Scouts.
After hearing the story about the lumber being stolen and Behan's plan to try to replace it, Yaich offered to help by paying half the cost of replacing the wood.
Together they purchased 17 2-inch by 6-inch by16-foot-long planks and had them delivered to the site at the environmental education center so that the construction of Steven's Eagle Scout project could continue.
Franklin Klock, a naturalist at the center, explained that a flight rehabilitation pen is a long, high, and open inside structure that is used to rehabilitate birds after they have recovered from whatever injuries they may have suffered.
The flight pen is used to help the recovered birds regain their muscle mass for efficient flight so that they can be released back into the wild.
When the birds are first introduced to the flight pen, they are placed in with short perches only about one or two feet high off the ground.
The birds do not like sitting on the ground so they will hop up onto the low perches, which they will be allowed to use for a few days before they are replaced with slightly higher ones.
To get off the ground, the birds will have to power their wings up a little more than before to reach those higher perches.
This procedure will be repeated over time using higher and higher perches to continually build up the birds' muscle mass until it can reach the highest perches.
The flight rehabilitation pen has high solid sides with an open screened-in top section which keeps the birds from seeing human beings and possible predators outside the pen, but enables them to perch up high in the light of day under the screened-in top section.
There are alternative methods to rehabilitate injured birds but, according to Klock, they are much more labor-intensive and are more stressful to the recovering birds.
The nearest similar facility is in the Harrisburg area but now thanks to the hard work and efforts of Hutta, his family, friends, and contributors the injured birds brought to the Carbon County Environmental Education Center can now be rehabilitated there in a more natural way.
A big structure requires a big work force to help out in its construction and this one is no exception.
In his efforts to complete his Eagle Scout project, Steven has been aided by Michael, Monique, Daniel, John, John A., Shawn, Francis, and Frankie Hutta; Jamie, Joshua, and Jacob Shelton; Chuck, Chuck Jr., and Adam Kimmel; Paul and Jason Montemuro; Rick and Mitch Hoffman; Bill and Billy Gushue; Dave and Tim Miller; Tony Montinero; Ray Attewell; David Miller; and Phillip Slack and, of course, the two Good Samaritans Behan and Yaich
As well as being a Scout who is active in his community and working to achieve his Eagle rank, Steven is also on the football team for the Jim Thorpe Olympians and on the Junior Rifle team for Palmerton. His Scoutmaster in Troop 555 is Ray Attewell.