Caleb Mallery stands behind an entrance sign to the city of Mount Clemens that he helped to have erected as part of his Eagle Scout project.

Caleb Mallery stands behind an entrance sign to the city of Mount Clemens that he helped to have erected as part of his Eagle Scout project.

Photo provided by Christy Mallery

Eagle Scout welcomes visitors to city with efforts

By: Kristyne E. Demske | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published August 20, 2020


MOUNT CLEMENS — Sixteen-year-old Caleb Mallery knew that he was taking on a challenge when he tackled an entryway sign and beautification project for downtown Mount Clemens as his Eagle Scout project, but what he didn’t anticipate was planning and preparing for the project in the midst of a pandemic.

Mallery, who is entering his senior year at L’Anse Creuse High School, said community members and the Mount Clemens Beautification Committee had been trying to have a wayfinding sign installed in the easement where northbound Gratiot Avenue meets North Avenue for quite some time. So he worked with the Mount Clemens Beautification Committee to pursue the project.

“He’s just a wonderful kid. I was an old Campfire leader, so I appreciate the fact of getting kids involved in a worthwhile project,” Beautification Committee member Sherri Gavie said. “Mount Clemens needs more beautification.”

The committee sponsored Mallery’s project. When he began the project in February, getting permits and the needed signatures, Mallery said he found it interesting because the road is owned by the state, not the city of Mount Clemens, so he had to get permission to pursue the project.

“There was a lot of contact finding involved in that,” he said, as well as making connections with horticultural designers and suppliers and a sign maker.

He received approval for the plans in April, but they were then delayed for more than a month due to COVID-19. Mallery, a member of Troop 1407 out of St. Margaret of Scotland Church in St. Clair Shores, picked right back up where he was in early May, however, and began raising money through a GoFundMe campaign and a bottle and can fundraiser.

The sign was installed in July, and on Aug. 8, Mallery and a team of volunteers created the beautification flower bed around it.

“It was a lot of work making sure that we had all of the right materials. The project site itself ... was in a big intersection, so we had to make sure we were careful and buy all of the safety supplies needed,” he said.

Gavie said the committee was excited to see the finished project.

“They did a beautiful job,” she said. “We would really like to thank them, and we are planning on doing something with the new mayor ... some kind of dedication once this is over.

“We just were very excited about the fact that they were trying to make Mount Clemens more beautiful. There are a lot of spaces that can be cleaned up in Mount Clemens.”

In addition to typical safety gear, Mallery also had to make sure his volunteers had hand sanitizer and other supplies to be protected from COVID-19.

“It was definitely very interesting. I’m so glad to have had the experience,” he said. “There (were) a few things that really came up that were very challenging.

“With the COVID stuff, it was very challenging to make sure that everyone was happy and, most of all, safe.”

Mallery said even though putting himself out there to make cold calls to ask for business and community support was challenging at first, the pandemic made it even tougher.

“The thing that surprised me, in a good way, the most was the amount of community support and outpouring of love and appreciation of even taking on the project,” he said.

He said a lot of residents have told him that they’re happy to see it.

“Before, it was this really ugly bush thing; it wasn’t something good to look at,” he said. “I was very worried because it was a tall order ... (but) the community really backed behind us. All the different businesses that supported us, that was really great as well.”

His mother, Christy Mallery, said she was proud of his efforts.

“It’s just so important, in the middle of all of this, you have young people that still want to do good for their community,” Christy Mallery said. “It was a lot of work, and there were dynamics in there that most kids wouldn’t have been able to tackle.”