Eagle Scout project honors grandfather, cancer patients

Tyler Kenney’s Eagle Scout service project was about more than shovels and benches.

For months, the member of Boy Scout Troop 88 has spent countless hours in a project to beautify the Davis House in Elkins. The Davis House provides free overnight stays for patients of the Davis Memorial Hospital Cancer Care Center and their family members.

Kenney, with assistance from his father and friend and fellow scout Jon Clingerman, designed and constructed two benches to be placed in the brick courtyard at the Davis House. The courtyard, called Legacy Lane, is comprised of engraved bricks which have been purchased in memory or honor of someone.

Tyler said he chose the project as a tribute to his late grandfather Joe Grahame. Grahame worked as a local forester for many years and was a true advocate of the Boy Scouts of America program. Grahame lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2011.

“I made my grandfather a promise that I would achieve the rank of Eagle Scout,” said Kenney. “I wasn’t able to do it before he died so I’m completing it now in his honor.”

In addition, Tyler planted two flowering cherry trees on the Davis House property. The GFWC Women’s Club of Elkins teamed up with Kenney to donate the trees as part of their Community Improvement Project. Kenney’s grandmother, Sandy Grahame, is an active member of the Women’s Club of Elkins and was on hand while Tyler and other members of his scout troop planted the trees.

“I’m so very proud of him, and I know Joe would be too,” said Grahame.

Grahame, an active community volunteer and breast cancer survivor herself, has been involved with the Davis House and DMH Cancer Care Center. She has worked as a volunteer at the Cancer Center, participated in Relay for Life events and was a major donor to the Davis House fundraising campaign.

“This is important to my family on so many levels,” said Tyler’s mom Joelle. “It’s like coming full circle on that promise Tyler made to my Dad. And with Mom’s commitment to patients battling cancer, the essence of this project has brought great meaning to our lives.”

Fellow Troop 88 scouts Daniel and Micah Toney, and Kenney’s younger brother Braxton from Pack 88 Cub Scouts volunteered to help deliver the benches and plant the trees. Cindy Stemple, Sandy Grahame and Donna Langevin from the Women’s Club also attended.

“You are encouraged to involve others in your project,” said Tyler. “I’m very thankful for all the help and donations I received from many people.”

Equipment and facilities to build the benches was donated by the Randolph County Development Authority and Wood Technology Center. Materials were donated by Elkins Builders Supply and a beautifully engraved commemorative stone was given by Scott Smith. Tyler’s parents, Joelle and Bruce, provided the engraved plates for the benches.

Dan Bucher, special projects coordinator for DHS and the DHS Foundation, anticipates plenty of use out of the new benches.

“They provide a comfortable place outside for our guests to relax. It enhances even more, the homelike environment we try to provide guests while they are here,” Bucher said.

“It’s amazing to witness the philanthropic spirit of Joe and Sandy Grahame being passed to the younger generations,” he said. “The kindness shared through this project will be recognized by guests at the Davis House for many years to come.”