Congregants of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Merrick gathered in front of the church on Feb. 9 for a special ceremony in recognition of Scout Sunday. Under a shimmer of sunlight, the Rev. Perry Kirschbaum blessed the newly erected peace pole there. The project was organized by Boy Scout Erik Conlon, of Merrick, as part of his journey to become an Eagle Scout.
Conlon, a 17-year-old senior at Calhoun High School, set out to develop a project that would withstand the test of time. He drew inspiration for his design from the Jones Beach water tower in Wantagh — better known as the Jones Beach “pencil.” The 10-foot-tall wooden pole stands on a blue stone base and is topped with a steel cap. Each side of the pole holds three aluminum placards with a different religious symbol etched into it. The materials were donated by area businesses.
Conlon recruited fellow scouts from Troop 351 to help him construct the pole, install light fixtures to illuminate it and plant a small flower garden at its base. The project took nearly two years to finish, from concept to completion.
“This pole will provide a physical embodiment of peace, and act as a landmark where families can come to enjoy and reflect on the craftsmanship behind the structure,” Conlon said. “This also acts as an addition to St. John’s church itself, providing its attendees with a sense of pride knowing that they have a unique representation of their community that most other churches don’t have.”