By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
Members of North Attleborough’s Troop 33 worked for several days to repair the front steps at Grace Episcopal Church.
Joshua Shockley decided on the church for his Eagle Scout project after speaking with Rick Mabie, a mason who restores damaged sites. Mabie had done some work on the steps last year, and suggested that completing it would be a good project. Shockley said he looked at other churches, but found the repairs needed were either too much for his group or too little.
“I felt this church had a good amount of work that could be done, so that’s why I chose it,” said Shockley on Sunday, June 27.
Shockley has been a Scout since he was 6 and that his father—also an Eagle Scout—inspired him to join.
Working with other Scouts, Shockley cleaned the sand in between the paving stones in the church’s walkway and powerwashed each of them. They then used Gator Sand—used in patios and decks—around the stones.
The bulk of the work was for the front steps. Over the years, the mortar has become so corroded that some of the steps were unsafe to use. The Scouts and Mabie cleaned the steps, filled in the gaps with mortar, and checked under them to see what damage had to be addressed. The team worked over two weekends to complete the project.
“Not only has he supplied the tools and the supplies for it, but he’s also providing professional help with it,” said Shockley.
It was last fall that Mabie was driving by the church and noticed a chain that ran across the front steps, which had been deemed dangerous. The church’s Building and Grounds team had placed the chain there for safety reasons, knowing that the cost of repairing them was more than could be afforded.
Mabie said the work he did last year was just the first phase. He estimated that the total cost for the steps would be around $10,000.
“With the help of having the manpower, the Boy Scouts are awesome,” he said. “No question about it, when you look at it.”
Mabie’s business, which he started a year ago, focuses on restoration and repair of existing structures, and he often goes door-to-door at buildings where he can see damage. Mabie was unemployed when he agreed to help Grace Church, but didn’t take any money. When his story was shared it led to a number of jobs that helped get him through the winter.
“I was just so tremendously blessed,” he said. “Undeniably blessed.”
Mabie credited the Scouts for their work, which ranged from scraping moss in between the stones to removing and replacing the mortar. Mabie provided advice and worked with his power tools, cutting up stones to plug larger holes when found. He said that he’d hire some of Scouts, as the work they did was that good.
“I mean, it looks unbelievable,” he said of the church. “It really does.”
Rick Mabie’s company is called BRick Mabie Masonry. He can be reached at 774-217-3324 or email@example.com.