Severna Park High School Junior Helps Homeless Veterans

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By Laura McElwain Colquhoun

Ethan Prigge is making a difference in the lives of homeless veterans in Baltimore while working to earn his Eagle Scout badge. The Severna Park High School junior chose to partner with The Baltimore Station, a therapeutic residential treatment program in Baltimore City that serves primarily veterans.

Two years ago, Prigge worked with The Baltimore Station during a confirmation class at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church. He helped serve a meal to the residents, and because of that positive experience, he decided to return there to complete his Eagle Scout project. The project would entail serving a meal to all 90 residents, plus about 10 to 20 staff members and volunteers. In addition to the meal, Prigge also set a goal of providing sweatpants to all 90 residents after learning of their desperate need for them.

To fund his projects, Prigge sent 300 letters to neighbors and family asking for monetary donations, and he raised more than $3,200. Due to the large amount raised, Prigge was able to fund two dinners and purchase all 90 pairs of sweatpants, and he even had funds left over to make a cash donation to The Baltimore Station.

He attributes his fundraising success to the nature of the project and the solid organizations involved. “People want to help veterans, an organization helping homeless people and the Boy Scouts,” he said. Prigge added that once people heard of his project, he also received many contributions of clothes for the residents, though he did not specifically ask for clothing donations.

Prigge made the first meal for The Baltimore Station residents on January 12. However, due to the snowstorm that day, he and his fellow scouts from Troop 450 could not serve and eat with the residents as planned. He had to leave the food at the center for them. The second meal will be in the spring, when Prigge will again prepare food for 100 to 110 people, and his fellow scouts will help serve and be able to eat with the residents. Soon, he will also deliver the sweatpants, which he said have been ordered but have not yet arrived.

Prigge shared one of the biggest challenges was doing the work all on his own. He coordinated with The Baltimore Station and completed all the fundraising, budgeting and meal preparations for the project. Pleased to be able to embark on this labor of love, though, Prigge said humbly, “It is rewarding to help serve veterans in their time of need.”

Prigge’s future plans include attending college either in New England or in Florida to pursue a degree in the field of biochemistry. He recently completed an internship involving the study of malaria, an experience that solidified his decision to work in a scientific research field. Prigge’s other interests include music. He has been a piano player for 10 years and is currently a singer in Severna Park High School’s Rock ‘N’ Rock Revival.

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