Aaron Eilerts of Eagle Grove was a talented and compassionate young man who was one of four boy scouts who sadly lost their lives when a tornado tore through the Little Sioux Scout Ranch on June 11, 2008. Forty eight others suffered injuries.
Aaron, an eighth grader, lived a live that exemplified scouting's "Spirit of Service," and many want to carry on Aaron's legacy of giving to others. "They want to honor the way he did serve on a regular basis. He regularly saw a need and tried to address it," says Sandra Hansen, Director of Iowa Campus Compact.
To honor the life of Eilerts, Governor Chet Culver has proclaimed Feb. 24 - Aaron's birthday - as the first annual Aaron Eilerts Day. Communities and schools across the state including Buena Vista University will be taking this day to honor Eilerts through various service projects.
BVU will be collecting items for women and children in Postville. Items should be dropped off by Feb. 20 to a box by the information desk at Siebens Forum. Donations can include rice, canned corn, dried beans, other non-perishables and diapers.
The aftermath of the Federal Raid in Postville on the meat packing plant last May left a group of people in need of assistance. The undocumented women affiliated with the plant were allowed to stay to provide care for their children. In addition to prison detention, these women were also placed on "house arrest" which requires them to wear ankle bracelets that monitor their activity. They are restricted to the Postville area and await hearings.
However, the hearings are not held in a specific location or designated time but instead are expected to take place in various locations across the state and those required to attend may only receive 24 hour notice that they must attend the hearing or their current status could be put in jepordy. Currently there is no opportunity for the women to be employed in the area or funds allowed to be spent. Community members in Postville have teamed up with people from across the state as well as St. Bridgett's Catholic Church in Postville to help assist the people affected.
In addition to being a member of the boy scouts Eilerts was involved with football, cross country, track, band, choir, theater, community theater and Destination Imagination and was huge fan of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. He was nominated for his service projects for an Iowa Character Counts Award in 207 and was named the state-wide runnerup. Service projects he did during his short life included sewing pillowcases for people in hospitals especially children and creating bankets for animals at the Humane Society.
* For more information on Aaron Eilerts Day, contact Ashley Farmer at 749-2443.