Aspiring Eagle and friends help renovate A.U.M.P. Church
Goshen Scout Owen Henkler says he's learning a lot while working on difficult project

Scouts, family, and friends joined forces to get the project at the African Union Methodist Protestant Church completed. Front row (from left): Diane Dinan, Mary Ellen Henkler, Lauren Henkler, Owen Henkler, Rev. Young, Colin Henkler, Ryan Henkler, and Hilary Surfer. Back row: Nick Brown, Theo Riley, Paul Donohue, Tom Henkler, Conor Donovan, Max Heinrich, Liam Kelly, Jack Donohue, and Anthony Palazzola. (Photo by Geri Corey)

By Geri Corey
GOSHEN — Goshen Boy Scout Owen Henkler helped move the renovation of the A.U.M.P. Church in Goshen closer to completion. As his Eagle Scout project, the 17-year-old took on the task of painting the inside walls of the church.
Painting the nave and sanctuary is one of the last projects that needed to be done to spruce up the church at 207 West Main Street, giving it new life.
Church renovation projects were taken on several years ago with the installation of a new heating system, a new roof, French drains to eliminate flooding, clearing the backyard of brush and debris, upgrading the downstairs kitchen, as well as painting the walls and flooring after adding new molding.
Much of the restorative work was the product of local volunteers and trade professionals, like carpenters and electricians, donating their time.
Owen, a senior at Goshen Central High School, began his scouting career while he was in kindergarten. He’s been a part of scouting all these years because he’s made a lot of friends, and had many good times talking and socializing. He's been learning a lot, and doing things he wouldn’t be able to do otherwise, like canoeing on the Delaware River.
“Scouting helped me grow into being a responsible person,” he said while taking time out from directing the other scouts in Troop #63, family members, and friends who came to help with his project. “I know the things I’m learning as a scout will help me in the future.”
Owen is the son of Maryellen and Thomas Henkler. His dad is the assistant troop leader, a position that he’s held for a long time. Owen’s three older brothers, Ethan, Ryan and Colin, all went through the scouting program, earning Eagle Scout Awards themselves. Younger sister Lauren, a ninth-grader at Goshen Central High School, is a Girl Scout and has earned her Silver Award.
Thomas revealed that in over 20 years involved in scouting, this is the fourth Eagle project that he and his family have completed.
“I did scouts as a kid, and I think it’s good for boys," he said. "It teaches skills outside of school and sports. Leadership skills are learned from different activities. Boy Scouts gives a broader base to build on. I’m happy to be here helping with this project.”
Rev. Brazley Young, pastor of the A.U.M.P. Church was on hand, surveying the work that the volunteers were doing.
“This is a beautiful thing, for people to help others in a time of need,” said the Rev. Young. “This is a job that needed to be done. This shows a willingness to work with others—this is love.”
“This was a difficult project,” said Owen. “Besides finding donations and help to finish the project, we had to come the night before to get the walls ready by spackling, caulking, covering the lower part of the walls with plastic, covering things that needed covering, and moving the pews to make room for the ladders. When we painted we had to be careful not to get paint on the wrong places, like the pews and the floor. We want to make sure the church looks good.”
“It’s a beautiful job they did,” said a pleased Rev. Young.
For his project, Owen received donations from Freeway Insurance, Gervic Paints, and Home Depot.