Around 70 communities across the state recognized the extraordinary life of an Iowa teenager Tuesday while performing various service projects in their towns.
The first ever Aaron Eilerts Day of Service and Giving included a ceremony in Eilerts’ home town of Eagle Grove.
Governor Chet Culver was there and spoke about Eilerts – who was one of four boy scouts killed in a tornado that hit a camp in western Iowa last June.
“It’s tough and it’s terribly sad, but this is all we can do. I think all of us have an obligation and responsibility to carry on his example,” Culver said.
Since his death, Iowans have learned about Aaron Eilerts and his devotion to volunteerism. Eilerts would have turned 15 on Tuesday.
“It’s because of Aaron’s gift of always giving to others, as governor, I was proud to proclaim today – his 15th birthday – as Aaron Eilerts Day of Service and Giving…in honor of his life and his work in service to his friends and neighbors,” Culver said.
Carol Eilerts, Aaron’s mother, admitted she’s had a difficult time dealing with the loss of her son, but said she was moved by a sermon at her church on New Year’s day. The minister asked the congregation to make the following resolution: “make the world a better place because you were here.”
Eilerts said she feels her son made the world a much better place and urged those in the audience to work to do the same. Throughout the school day, the students of Robert Blue Middle School worked on a number of service projects in Eagle Grove.
They included the sewing of pillow cases for hospital patients, working on meals in a box delivered to food pantries and cleaning up parks. Similar projects were carried out in dozens of towns around Iowa.