southtownstar
OMINOUS 
Weather Updates

Warm gesture: Oak Lawn Scout seeks socks for homeless

Article Extras
Story Image

Patrick Dubetz, of Oak Lawn, is searching for socks — specifically, the white tube socks that keep warm the feet of men, women and children.

Patrick, 15, is a Boy Scout with Troop 619, based at St. Gerald in Oak Lawn, and he is working on his Eagle Scout project.

He decided, after talking with an uncle, Jim Wright, of Homewood, that collecting socks for the needy was not only an admirable goal but also one that makes the most sense.

“My uncle does a lot with South Suburban PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) in Chicago Heights, and he said, ‘PADS is always in need of socks,’ ” said Patrick, a sophomore at Oak Lawn Community High School.

“Another big reason I chose socks is when people go to donate for the homeless, they’ll bring coats for the winter, shirts, maybe underwear, jeans, but you don’t think of socks. Who thinks of socks? It’s such an odd item,” Patrick said.

He hopes to gather at least 100 packages of socks to be delivered to the PADS office in Oak Lawn. There are collection boxes at St. Gerald Church, 9310 S. 55th Court; Oak Lawn Village Hall, 9446 S. Raymond Ave.; Johnson-Phelps VFW Post 5220, 9514 S. 52nd Ave., and the Oak Lawn Public Library, 9427 S. Raymond Ave.

“I’m hoping people will contribute. First thing I’ll do is get some Scouts over here to organize all the socks we collected for men, women and for children,” Patrick said.

Patrick is the youngest of two sons. His brother, Evan, 17, is a junior at Oak Lawn Community High School.

Patrick started in Scouting in third or fourth grade when a friend, Nick Paluck, introduced him to the troop at St. Gerald. Nick earned his Eagle Scout ranking earlier this year.

St. Gerald has had a Boy Scout troop since 1947 and has produced a long line of Eagle Scouts.

Patrick’s parents, Steve and Nancy Dubetz, think Scouting has been good for him. Patrick has stayed with the troop because he enjoys “being able to learn new skills and being around people my age with similar interests. That’s one of the biggest things,” he said.

“It’s a nice, well-knit community. If I ever need help, I can ask. Everybody knows each other,” he said.

Nancy is glad he’s stayed in the troop through the years.

“I think it’s been great for him. He’s flourished as a person. He’s much more outgoing. He’s a good student. I’m not complaining,” she said.

Patrick said he’s now “able to talk with people older than me. I can talk with someone in their 50s or 40s about random stuff.”

En route to getting close to becoming an Eagle Scout, he’s earned 33 merit badges, 12 of which were required to become an Eagle Scout.

There’s a wide variety of topics covered by the merit badges. One, for example, is about managing personal finances. He was required to manage his money for eight months and study the stock market.

He earned many of his merit badges at the Owasippe Scout Reservation in Twin Lake, Mich.

“This is small boat sailing, and one of the funnest things for that merit badge is you have to capsize the boat while you are in the middle of the lake. Then you have to flip the boat back over (so it’s upright),” he said.

For his badge in citizenship, he volunteered in the community for 18 hours. He just finished a “citizenship in the world” badge.

“You have to learn about other countries and how embassies work,” he said. “One of my favorite merit badges, you either love it or hate it, is wilderness survival. You have to build shelters out of pretty much nothing. Me and a kid from another troop, we were up at Owasippe, we went out to the woods, chose a spot for shelter, and built it with what we found. We found a tree on a slope, put our base down. ... You have to sleep in it overnight. It rained and some rain came in a bit, but it was OK.”

After he becomes an Eagle Scout, Patrick hopes to continue earning merit badges until he hits the age limit of 18. He sees himself as a possible troop leader one day.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.