Patriotic Eagle Scout Project makes huge impact on local fallen heroes

By: Woodlands Online Staff
| Published 01/31/2024


THE WOODLANDS, TX – Life Scout Grace Kotalik, of Scouts BSA Troop 1777, recently began delivery of her Eagle Project. Her project is to present a series of Flag Retirement boxes in honor of military personnel who have died. This project is one of great personal significance to her as it has been inspired by her older brother, Eagle Scout, U.S. Army Specialist Jarrett Kotalik, who lost his life July 10, 2023.

The boxes are being delivered to their permanent locations in the Woodlands area. During each delivery, there will be a dedication ceremony where the namesake service members’ families will be honored. Each box contains a QR Code that will connect those who visit the sites to a website with more information about the project, boxes, and stories of the fallen heroes that they memorialize.

The boxes have also been blessed by one of the ministers from Trinity Episcopal Church in The Woodlands. Trinity is the Charter Partner for Grace’s troop, and it is the church home of the Kotalik family. Trinity’s support of Grace’s project was instrumental as part of the National Scouts BSA guidelines on Eagle Projects.

The Dedication Ceremonies have taken place at the following locations in honor of these servicemembers:

  • The Air Force Box at the South County Community Center in honor of TSgt Cody Ball & Other Fallen U.S. Air Force Heroes
  • The Navy & Marine Box at the Timber Lakes Timber Ridge HOA building in honor of LCpl. Armando Hernandez & HM1 Kristofer Guy
  • The Army Box at Interfaith The Woodlands in honor of Specialist Joey Lenz & Other Fallen U.S. Army Heroes

Furthermore, on February 1 at 2:30 p.m., there will be a box in memory of U.S. Army Specialist Jarrett Kotalik at Trinity Episcopal Church. Following the Dedication Ceremonies, Grace will carry out a large flag retirement ceremony on March 9 beginning at 1:00 p.m. at the Outdoor Amphitheater at Camp Strake.

Attending the ceremonies have been families of fallen servicemembers, local VFW Post and American Legion members, and Scouts from the surrounding areas, including Trinity’s Scouts from Cub Scout Pack 777, Troop 777, Venturing Crew 112, and Grace’s Troop 1777. More than 300 flags that have been flown around our county will be properly retired as part of the service.

The Eagle Scout Project is a huge passion endeavor for Grace, a Gold Star sister who lost her brother six months ago. “The fallen heroes will never be forgotten and in years to come; everyone who visits the boxes will be connected to their stories,” she said. “Those who place flags to be retired in these boxes, will see the paintings of on the front and be reassured that our heroes are watching over the worn symbols of our nation until they can be properly retired. It has become comforting when we feel like our fallen heroes are remembered and honored, and this was my way of honoring the lives and sacrifices of Jarrett, Joey, Cody, Armando, Kristofer, Michael, Brandon, and all of those who have died in service to our great country.”

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