HAVERHILL — When searching for his Eagle Scout community project, 17-year-old Christopher Tringale of North Andover turned his thoughts to the care his grandmother received at the High Pointe House in Haverhill.
Run by Merrimack Valley Hospice, the palliative care residence felt warm and comforting to Christopher, who said it felt like a home.
His grandmother, Ann Tringale, died there in Nov. 2017, at the age of 85.
Christopher had never been to a hospice facility before.
"They took really good care of my grandmother and it was a really nice place for families," he said. "There were a lot of places to sit, including outside."
About a month after his grandmother died, Christopher had the idea to give back to the place that provided her with such good care.
“I wanted to honor my grandmother, the staff who took excellent care of her, and all other patients both present and future with a project that will benefit them," said Christopher, a junior at St. John's Prep in Danvers.
At first he proposed building an outdoor pergola, but hospice officials suggested an indoor project.
"My mother and I came up with the idea of building rocking chairs, not only as a way give back, but also as my Eagle Scout project," he said.
The beautiful accommodations inside High Pointe House now include six new rocking chairs, handcrafted by Christopher.
Planning for his Eagle project as a member of North Andover's Troop 87 included presenting his proposal and receiving approval, fundraising for the project, and finally building and delivering his gift.
To become an Eagle Scout takes a great deal of time, effort and dedication to the community, Christopher said, noting that on average, only 4% of Scouts earn the status of Eagle Scout.
"Merrimack Valley Hospice is honored to have been chosen by Chris for this very special project," said Linda Miller, director of High Pointe House. "We are so impressed by the quality craftsmanship of these beautiful rocking chairs. Patients and families will enjoy this gift for years to come. Chris is an amazing young man, and we are honored to have partnered with him on this special project."
High Pointe House is an acute care facility providing end-of-life care in a comfortable, home-like setting, Miller said.
Christopher joined the Cub Scouts when he was in kindergarten and became a Boy Scout in fifth grade. He's been in scouting ever since and has earned 26 Scouting badges.
Starting in February 2018, he submitted a plan to his troop's committee board, then the district, then ultimately he plans to submit it for Eagle Scout.
"I'll them how long it took, how many hours we worked and how many people were involved and how friends and family donated money, in addition to money we raised through a GoFundMe page that raised about $1,400," he said.
Although he was in charge of every element of the project, he got help from adults, from fellow Scouts, as well as family and other friends. He also had the support of his parents, James and Tiffany Tringale, and his brother Michael, an eighth grader at the North Andover Middle School.
The family operates Jimmy's Culpeppers Pub & Grill in North Andover, where Christopher and Michael often help by washing dishes and clearing tables.
Christopher said he found a design for the chairs on online, and at the advice of his scoutmaster and Eagle coach, Kevin Aheron, he decided to use fir instead of other types of wood he was considering.
When it came time to building his chairs, Christopher purchased materials from Jackson Lumber, for which he received a discount, and borrowed power tools from Aheron, which saved him money from having to buy his own tools with the money he raised.
"For the finish, we sanded and stained the chairs in pecan," Christopher said.
The chairs were delivered April 18 and a week later, Christopher delivered a check to the High Pointe House for $3,085, which remained from all of the donations he received, including from the GoFundMe page.
"It an awesome project," his mother said.
"I never thought I would have raised this much money," Christopher said. "It felt really good to give a sizable donation to the hospice house."
Christopher thanks those who supported this project, including Jackson Lumber, Watts, KA Construction, CRL Landscaping, Abel Womack, Fossie’s Tickets, Jimmy’s Culpeppers Pub and Grill, North Andover Troop 87, and many family and friends.
"I spent most of my life in Scouting," Chrisotpher added, "and I thought it would be important and meaningful to go the distance."