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His church needed a playground, so this local Scout delivered
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David Galvan is joined by members of Scouts BSA Troop 451 and Troop 2-451 on Thursday, as they helped him build the play and prayer areas at St. John Assyrian Presbyterian Church in Turlock (CHRISTOPHER CORREA/The Journal).

St. John Assyrian Presbyterian Church on 450 S. Palm St. is one of the oldest churches in all of Turlock, built in 1928. It is also the home church of Turlock native David Galvan, who is a senior at Turlock High School and a member of Scouts BSA Turlock Troop 451.

This week, Galvan, some of his fellow Scouts, their supervisors and members of the St. John church came together to build a playground and prayer garden as part of his Eagle Scout project, which aims to provide activities for children during church events and for their summer Bible school.

Galvan explained that figuring out his Eagle Scout project took little time, as he experienced first-hand the lack of outdoor activities offered to children at the church.

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David Galvan of Scouts BSA Troop 451 of Turlock poses with the newly built playground at St. John Assyrian Presbyterian Church, which he built as part of his Eagle Scout project (Photo contributed).

“I wanted to do something for my childhood church since they didn’t have anything here,” Galvan said. “The pastor (Rev. Edward William Eissabake) also realized the lack of activities and he has wanted to have a playground, so the inspiration comes from him, so here we are building it.”

Sargon Eddy has been a member of the church since 1977, where he is now a church elder and serves on the current church session. He spoke about the relationship Galvan has with the church and the significance of building a playground on the premises.

“Our vacation Bible school has been something we’ve had for over 40 years, and David and his siblings all participated. About six months ago, David approached us about doing this project with the Scouts. Four months ago, he came to our Session meeting and presented his project, and we voted and welcomed him to do it. We’ve had the children ministry off-and-on, but right now we have a really strong Bible study program and Sunday School program… It’s really exciting to see a young, Assyrian kid help these programs and give back to the church he grew up in. I’m sure all the kids are going to love it and the members will be excited once it’s finished.”

Among the many fellow Scouts, parents and church members helping build the playground throughout the past week was Edvin Eshagh, assistant Scoutmaster and former Cub Master of Pack 451. His son, Kyle, is close friends to Galvan and his family. Galvan explained that attending Kyle’s Court of Honor in 2019 was the catapult for him to officially join the scouts himself in February of 2020.

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Beside the playground, Galvan helped organize a prayer area (CHRISTOPHER CORREA/The Journal).

“The boys and our families are very close, and it is amazing to see that David is working to become an Eagle Scout himself,” Eshagh said. “It is a great experience for the kids. As one of the parents, I believe that Scouting has a strong moral value and it’s imperative that they finish their scouting. The journey is a mountain to climb, but when you look back, you see you’ve climbed a mountain, so it’s definitely something to be proud of. As parents, we’re proud of our kids because their accomplishments are our accomplishments.”

While the project will always have an emphasized attachment to Galvan’s name and journey as a Scout, he also made sure to take time to thank community members for their support, as several businesses donated materials to make both the playground and prayer garden possible.

“This took a long time to plan, going getting donations from all these local places, and everybody was very helpful and generous,” he said. “To see it finally going up, it’s really fulfilling.”

Donations were made by Denair Lumber, Greenery Nursery of Turlock, Turlock Ace Hardware, Turlock Lowe’s and California Landscape Design.

“Having some of the other boys and girls here, the younger Scouts, it’s great and we couldn’t be prouder,” said Galvan’s mother, Bernadette, who also serves as Scoutmaster for Turlock Troop 2-451. “From the donors to the members of the church, being able to see his dreams come true is so amazing.”

And a dream is exactly how the 17-year-old Galvan describes his experiences as a Boy Scout as his youth tenure winds down.

“My experience has been great because I’ve learned a lot that I didn’t know before, with everything that involves the outdoors and being helpful to my community and living by Scout Law,” he said. “And finishing up working on becoming an Eagle Scout, you can definitely say that dreams are coming true.”