Daniel Hankes, a 17-year-old Mercer Island High School junior, is preparing to become an Eagle Scout as part of Boy Scout Troop 647.
According to the troop website, Troop 647 is one of four Boy Scouts of America (BSA) troops on the Island since 1969.
“Our priorities include: Achieving the requirements for rank advancement, going on exciting outdoor excursions, doing our part through community service projects, annual participation in one of the BSA’s High Adventure Camps, and having a lot of fun together,” the website troop website says.
Hankes has been scouting since he was in fifth grade.
“It’s been really fun,” he said. “Scouting teaches you everything you need to know and teaches you how to be a good person.”
To become an Eagle Scout, scouts must complete a service project. For his project, Hankes is leading a drive to collect old prescription eyeglasses and reading glasses to be processed and distributed by the Northwest Lions Club Eyeglasses Recycling Center (NWLERC). The glasses then will be given to people in developing countries who can’t afford eyeglasses and don’t have access to eye care.
NWLERC was founded by area Lions Clubs and is recognized by Lions Clubs International as an official Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center. It is a Washington State chartered, IRS authorized 501 (c) 3 corporation. NWLERC has provided eyeglasses for medical missions in more than 100 countries.
Hankes said he was inspired to run the drive as his Eagle Scout project because his father’s friend had done the same project nearly 30 years ago. He said he thought it would be a good idea to do the same.
Scouts from Troop 647 will distribute nearly 1,000 door hanger collection bags in Mercer Island neighborhoods on June 10, and return to pick them up on June 15. Collection boxes will also be distributed to seven locations throughout the Island. Collection box locations include Mercer Island Pediatrics, New Seasons Market, Stroum Jewish Community Center, Mercer Island Community Center, Aljoya Mercer Island retirement community, Covenant Shores retirement community and the south-end QFC on Southeast 68th Street. The collection boxes will be collected on June 20.
Hankes has been planning the project for the past four months. He said he is looking forward to collecting the glasses.
“It’ll feel good when we collect the glasses and knowing they will be going to help people who can’t afford glasses,” he said. “Please donate your old glasses.”