Tim Wheeler /The News-Times
Brian Fantel, left, and Bill Montgomery stand in the
meditation garden at King Street United Church of Christ
that Fantel completed for his Eagle Scout project.
Montgomery, a landscape designer and Eagle Scout, helped him
with the project.
DANBURY — It was a perfect partnership. In the end, a church got
a new meditation garden. A Danbury teen earned a Scouting honor. And
a landscape designer regained part of his past.
The pieces all came together over the weekend at a ceremony at
King Street United Church of Christ.
On Saturday afternoon, Brian Fantel received an award signifying
his promotion to Eagle Scout. For Fantel, 17, it was, most likely, a
At the same ceremony, Bill Montgomery, 63, also received an Eagle
Scout award. But for him, it was the second time around. He had
become an Eagle Scout near Pittsburgh 49 years ago, but somewhere
along life’s travels had lost the medal that goes with the honor.
It was Fantel who began the push to get Montgomery a new medal.
It was just one way of saying thanks to the man who helped Fantel
with his Eagle Scout project — creating a meditation garden at the
"I wanted to do this because the Eagle Scout award is something
he should have. He worked to get it,” said Fantel, who spent about
six years working toward his own award. "I thought this would be a
way to show my gratitude by bringing something memorable back into
Every Scout must do a community service project to become an
Eagle Scout. Fantel wanted to build the garden for the church as
thanks for allowing Troop 52 of Danbury, his troop, to meet there.
He is not a church member.
His Scoutmaster suggested he get in touch with Montgomery, a
landscape designer and church member who had done other work on the
church grounds. "He worked with me for a couple of months on what
plants would be good for the garden,” said Fantel. "He was a really
The meditation garden sits in a corner of the lot, near the
church’s cemetery under a dogwood tree. The small garden is filled
with a ground cover called creeping phlox, Indian grass, shrubs and
other plants. It has a sitting stone in the middle.
Fantel learned about his mentor’s lost award from Montgomery’s
wife, Melody. Fantel then asked his former Scoutmaster, John Cooke,
for help in replacing the medal. Melody Montgomery contacted her
husband’s cousin in Pennsylvania. The cousin got in touch with local
scouting officials, who were able to locate the records for the
original award. Melody Montgomery then provided those records to
Cooke, who sent them to national Boy Scout officials, who then
supplied the replacement medal.
On Saturday, family, friends and fellow Scouts came to King
Street United Church of Christ expecting only to honor Fantel.
Montgomery had been invited to be part of Fantel’s Eagle Scout
Honor Guard, which escorts the Eagle Scout-to-be down the aisle
during the ceremony.
After receiving his hard-earned honor, Fantel told the audience:
"Now I want to thank someone that helped me especially and gave up
many hours of his time to work with me. He is a great man.”
Fantel then presented Montgomery with the Eagle Scout award.
"I was shocked,” said Montgomery, who recalled he had also
received his first award in a ceremony in a church. "I was delighted
when (Fantel) asked me to be on the Eagle Scout Honor Guard...I had
no idea of any of this.”
Cooke said Fantel’s efforts to restore his mentor’s medal showed
the teen has learned the true lessons of Scouting. "Brian had
demonstrated leadership and that’s what this is all about,” said
Cooke. "He is a role model to young Scouts.”
Contact Heather Barr
firstname.lastname@example.org or at (203) 731-3331.