GROVE CITY – The next generation of volunteers helping with the Tower Presbyterian Church train display is adding some new features.
“We’re quite proud of it,” Dave McCreary said.
He was referring to the work of his grandson, Evan McCreary, whose Eagle Scout project focuses on part of the train display.
Along with leaders and other members of Boy Scout Troop 76, Evan has made part of the train display portable so it can be shared with more people.
The church, at 248 S. Broad St., in Grove City, has been hosting the display each holiday season since 2007. The late Ron Churchill got it started, and Dave McCreary has helped maintain it over the years.
It is open to the public on certain dates in Williamson Hall at the church starting Nov. 2, and Evan will be taking it on the road after the last viewing, which is Dec. 14.
“It’s been fun,” said Evan, 14, who’s a freshman at Grove City High School.
He’s planning to visit a few local nursing homes, and Dave McCreary expects other groups to show interest in seeing the display outside of the church.
In the meantime, Evan and fellow volunteers are putting the finishing touches on the display – from securing tiny people and working lights to making sure the trees and grass look just right.
He raised money to buy some new things for the display by having people sponsor various parts of the setup. His brother Ian, 12, has also helped with the project.
Evan, joined Wednesday night at the church by his grandparents Dave and Lynn McCreary, his parents Scott and Stephanie, and fellow Scout Jordan Medve, explained how he’s made the train display portable.
“It all comes apart with bolts,” he said, pointing out several sections.
He added boards underneath for support, and foam to make it lightweight. Scott McCreary estimated that roughly 500 hours have been put into the Eagle Scout project.
There are a lot of little details incorporated into the display that require a closer look at eye level.
An American flag can be seen through the window of one of the homes; a Tri-County garbage truck is parked on the street near a taco truck; a Boy Scout train is coming down the tracks; the church has stained glass windows overlooking a graveyard; and Evan is working on adding “smoke” to a house that the fire department is approaching.
Evan and his grandfather said they love the attention to detail that comes with model trains.
“I think it’s cool,” said Jordan, 14.
The boys learned how to make grass and trees, and they’ve been painting some of the structures to make them look more weathered.
Local businesses that donated to the project are being recognized with miniature signs placed throughout the display, Scott McCreary said.
“I’m excited about it,” he said.
He is proud of his son’s dedication to the project, which is helping him develop leadership and communication skills.
Dave McCreary has been happy to see Evan take an interest in his love of trains, and the church looks forward to having more people enjoy it, hopefully for many years to come.
The entire display has grown and includes trains and other pieces from volunteers’ own collections including Dave McCreary’s.
Also on hand Wednesday night was Brian Saunders, president of Shared Hope for Orphans Worldwide, or SHOW. The Grove City-based nonprofit helps provide educational services to children in Uganda along with food and shelter.
The organization is hosting a fair trade show and craft sale at the church in conjunction with this year’s first train show. Visitors can check out the fair and trains from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2.
Kids can decorate cupcakes with Saunders’ daughter McKenzie, who loves to bake for friends and family. The church will be selling lunch to benefit a child in Uganda.
There will be vendors selling items handmade locally or in third-world countries with proceeds supporting charitable causes.
SHOW will also be selling T-shirts and hats sporting artwork from children in Uganda, Saunders said.
Other dates for the train display are: 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 16; 2 to 6 p.m. Dec. 4; noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 7 as part of the Olde Town Grove City Christmas event; and 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 14.
For more information about the train display, call Tower Presbyterian Church at 724-458-7260, visit towerchurch.com or check out their Facebook page. To learn more about Shared Hope for Orphans Worldwide, call 724-822-1960, visit showorldwide.org or check out their Facebook page.