CEDAR FALLS — Beau Andersen worked for months throughout the summer in a hot, gritty garage for the comfort of others.
For his Eagle Scout project, “Comfort Through Literacy,” Beau, with the help of some fellow Scouts and a member of his church, built 10 book houses to be placed throughout UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital in Waterloo.
The book houses, similar to the popular Free Little Libraries, are in several areas of the hospital for patients and families to take books and read as they wish.
“It’s a tech-driven time in our world right now,” Beau said. “Everybody is always on their phone. I thought it would be nice to see people reading more books.”
The book houses, filled with donated books, are located in surgical waiting rooms, a women’s clinic area, the pediatrics unit and other spaces at Allen.
“I was very impressed by him,” said Joyce Coil, hospice development coordinator with the Allen Foundation. “He took the ball and just ran with it. It’s a great project for the hospital.”
Beau, 16 and a junior at Cedar Falls High School, spent the summer cutting the patterns and assembling the houses. He visited every area of the hospital where a book house would be placed to make sure each was painted in the same color palette as its surroundings.
“If definitely took a lot longer than I anticipated, but that’s part of life,” he said. “Actually, putting them together was the hardest part, making sure the parts fit together. We had to make that work.”
Beau joined the Boys Scouts of America as a second-grade Cub Scout and achieved his Eagle Scout rank earlier than most.
“He didn’t have to (complete his Eagle Scout project) until he’s 18,” Coil said. “I’m impressed that he’s so on top of things. The Scouts who go on and get their Eagle Scout (recognition) are becoming fewer and farther in between. But when they apply to college or for a job, that’s one thing people look at to see if they got that completed. Beau was motivated enough to do that.”
Beau’s future plans include military service and possibly a career in politics — both careers “that can help people,” he said.
Coil said he’s off to a great start with the book houses project.
“It’s a wonderful thing for our patients and their families,” she said.