Boy Scouts Build a Hospital Garden

By 1929 the St. Camillus Hospital, on Milwaukee’s south side, had been open for five years. The property on which it stood consisted of two homes. One was converted into the hospital and the other became the Camillian’s monastery. There was a vacant lot adjacent to the hospital that was unused and unattractive. The Camillians had often expressed the hope that someday the empty lot might be improved in a way that would allow patients to enjoy the outdoors in comfort and beauty, but they were far too busy to take on such a task. Fortunately Boy Scout Troop 53, from nearby St. Lawrence School, had the time, energy, and “manpower” to get the job done.

The completed garden.

It took the scouts a year to clear the lot, level the land, plant grass, flowers and shrubs, and construct a garden house and flagpole. The garden was dedicated on October 6, 1929 and turned over to the Camillian Fr. Charles Mansfeld. In his presentation speech, Scout Herbert Mooney thanked the Balistreri Brothers and the Milwaukee Gas Company for their assistance with the project. He told those in attendance that some may have thought that the job was too big for “boys” to do. He assured them that “no task is too difficult for a scout.” All they needed was a helping hand. He reminded them that it was a scout’s duty to “help other people at all times.” Well, the scouts certainly had done a Good Turn. One they could be proud of and one that would ease the burden of the hospital’s patients for years to come.

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