HARRISVILLE -- William Eatchel wanted to collect 20 fishing poles for folks at the George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home, so he started asking the community for help.
The community reached out more than the 17-year-old imagined possible.
"He's collected over 65 poles," said William's mother, Renee Eatchel. "People have really been generous."
Not only did the teen collect more poles than he expected, people dropped off full tackle boxes and nets as well.
"Our phone has been ringing off the hook," Eatchel said. "Many of the donations have come from veterans, and they've all asked William to come and pick up the poles so they could meet him."
William, whose grandfathers and uncles served in the military, wanted to earn his Eagle Scout by helping out the local veterans, so he called P.J. Woodbury at the veterans home to ask how he could help.
"They said the people there would really like to go fishing, but they needed equipment," William said. "I thought I would get around 20 poles, plus some equipment like fishing lines and tackle boxes."
Woodbury said the veterans home has several ex-fishermen who had a desire to go fishing. She said not only is it good therapy, but it gives them a chance to reminisce and get some fresh air.
"I'm absolutely thrilled," Woodbury said. "This means a lot of our residents can have their own fishing poles. It can sit in their room, and they can think about fishing and what they're going to catch next."
Woodbury said she would like to get the veterans out fishing at least once a week or more.
"It would be pretty neat if we took our veterans fishing and invited our veterans in the community to come with us. We can have a big fish-o-rama," she said. "We're just very grateful. This has been a great success, and we're looking forward to the great outdoors."