2021 Western Region Eagle Scout Project of the Year: Supplying villages with clean water

After his older brother Diego won a council-level Adams award for his Eagle Scout project of building a search-and-rescue dog training facility, Mateo David Sabio Paese decided his project would make a big impact, too.

“When he won that, I knew I had to do an ambitious project because I wanted to,” says the 17-year-old from Troop 222 in Menlo Park, Calif. “I was open to many different things. I learned to be aware of issues that I could solve myself.”

All Eagle Scout projects make a great impact on communities, but not every project requires two years to complete. Mateo’s family would visit his father’s side of the family in Honduras every couple of years. When Mateo would go, he’d notice soda was a staple in many of the villages — not for a sweet treat, but for simple hydration. The unhealthy drinks cost much less than buying clean water, which would cost some villagers nearly one-fifth of their weekly income.

“Clean water is accessible, but affordable clean water isn’t,” he says.

For his service to helping solve that problem, Mateo received the 2021 Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams Service Project of the Year Award for the Western Region.

Adams Award eligibility is determined by when a young person completes their Eagle Scout board of review. For the 2021 awards, eligible Eagle Scouts had to have passed their Eagle board of review between Jan. 1, 2020, and Feb. 8, 2021.

The honor also includes $500 award for future education endeavors or to attend a national or international Scouting event or facility. His council, the Pacific Skyline Council, also receives $500.

A filter fix

Mateo chose to order water filters and build filtration systems using 5-gallon buckets, so villagers could filter water at home. The project began by focusing on a couple of villages where his father knew of people in need. Mateo set up a booth at his church, Trinity Episcopal Parish, and asked for donations after services.

The fundraising, plus a product discount from Sawyer, meant he could expand his original goal of 50 water filtration systems — he could make 75. The additional filters could be distributed in more villages. Word got around, thanks to his father’s childhood church in Honduras, Iglesia Episcopal San Marcos, and people in 14 different villages were identified who could benefit from Mateo’s project.

With large families in some of the villages, he estimates that 75 systems would supply clean, affordable water for about 1,000 people.

Mateo ordered the filters and packed them into two suitcases. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he and his family flew to Honduras during his winter break from school. There, he bought the buckets and met with church and youth group volunteers.

“Using EDGE, I showed them how to drill holes in the buckets and teach others on maintenance,” he says.

Mateo printed instructions in English and Spanish, so villagers could know where they should keep the systems and how often to clean the filters, which should last about three years. He met with all of the recipients, delivering the assembled systems.

“It was very heart-warming; they were very grateful,” Mateo says.

Council awards

If you know an Eagle Scout whose project is worthy of consideration for the Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year award, please nominate them.

Find a nomination form, judging criteria and more information at this link.

Any Eagle Scout, their parents or any registered BSA volunteer (with the Eagle Scout’s permission) may submit an Eagle Scout service project for consideration. Each council will then nominate one outstanding project to the National Eagle Scout Association.

Here are this year’s council winners, and the regional and national winners are listed below.

Adams Council Winners Council
Diego M Alanis Three Harbors Council
Gabriel Amidon LaSalle Council
Cooper Auge Northern Star Council
Rebecca Bagby Greater St Louis Area Council
Henry Balogh Bay-Lakes Council
Reagan Barr Northeast Illinois Council
Charles Michael Baul Heart of America Council
Alexander Boyd Samoset Council
Donald Ray Brewer III Tecumseh Council
Tyler Doskocz Michigan Crossroads Council
Ian Clancy Dunn Great Rivers Council
Owen Hollander Buffalo Trace Council
Anthony Joseph W.D. Boyce Council
Peter Morarend Northeast Iowa Council
Joshua C. M. Ostrander Prairielands Council
Paitonne Palmer Black Hills Area Council
Kyle Benjamin Schlieve Potawatomi Area Council
Benjamin Oliver Singleton Mountaineer Area Council
Christopher Taylor Crossroads of the West Council
Caroline Jean White Simon Kenton Council
Nicholas Martin Apa Northern New Jersey Council
Kamil Muhammad Arif Monmouth Council
Timothy Richard Ayers Mayflower Council
Bridget Lee Brady Patriots’ Path Council
Kevin George  Bustamante-Valega Garden State Council
Chandler Dameron Laurel Highlands Council
Liam Devlin Chester County Council
Ryan Dupont Greater Hudson Valley Council
Dillon Fink Del-Mar-Va Council
Jack H. Gray National Capital Area Council
Timothy Hantzschel Suffolk County Council
Sebastian Mengwall Connecticut Yankee Council
Kevin James O’Neill Westchester-Putnam Council (merged with Greater Hudson Valley)
Griffin Petry Jersey Shore Council
Saranya Mira Plante Spirit of Adventure Council
Eric Simakaski Northeastern Pennsylvania Council
Richard Toledo Greater New York Councils
Micah Mel Yaw Asante Chattahoochee Council
Adrian Armando Avila Golden Spread Council
Pamela Bullard Pine Burr Area Council
Matthew Cary Central Florida Council
Stewart Atwood Chipman Old North State Council
Cai Clements Circle Ten Council
Benjamin David Gardner Colonial Virginia Council
Shreev Goyal Capitol Area Council
Bradley Hardy Istrouma Area Council
Cale Robert Kruger South Texas Council
Ricardo Noe Lazaro Alamo Area
Dane E. McGraw North Florida Council
Will McKelvey Greater Alabama Council
Ryan Mroch East Carolina Council
Ishaan Narsinghani Central Georgia Council
Kip Conroy Nichols Last Frontier Council
Liam Richardson Heart of Virginia Council
Madelyn Ridley Indian Waters Council
Robert Foster Rouse, Jr. Piedmont Council
Meghan Sheedy Tidewater Council
Gage Montgomery Starks West Tennessee Area Council
Jonathan Cooper Williams Andrew Jackson Council
Devin Alexander Wray Miami Valley Council
Collins Lee Wyatt Daniel Boone Council
Adonis Joseph Zawalich Greater Tampa Bay Area
Mohit Mukund Agrawal Greater Los Angeles Area Council
Abraham Estrada California Inland Empire Council
Ryan Fielding Aloha Council
Nancy Gutziller Far East Council
Ani Mara Der Hovanesian Orange County Council
Dallin Hunt Longs Peak Council
Jeffrey Alan Kenyon Cascade Pacific Council
Ethan Lincoln Mount Baker Council
Joshua Lintner San Diego Imperial Council
Liam Lozano Morin Blue Mountain Council
Jesse Evan Muth Los Padres Council
Michael David Nordin, Jr. Mountain West Council
Adithya Palle Golden Gate Area Council
Parker Pugno Golden Empire Council
Walter Rahmer Catalina Council
Dylan T. Randall Crater Lake Council
Sarah Ross Chief Seattle Council
Leif Peder Darryl Rudling Ventura County Council
John Ryan Denver Area Council
Christopher McKee Smith Pikes Peak Council
Patrick L Venezia Verdugo Hills
Erin Renee Williams Crossroads of the West Council
Michael Rizzardi Hawk Mountain Council
Diego M Alanis Three Harbors Council
Gabriel Amidon LaSalle Council

2021 Eagle Scout Projects of the Year

This post is part of our series spotlighting Eagle Scouts who received the Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award in 2021. Here are the four winners:

2021 Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award recipients

  • National winner (representing the Northeast Region): Christopher Thomas Adam of the New Birth of Freedom Council, who led a team that designed and constructed an educational exhibit about D-Day, the Normandy landings in World War II
  • Central Region winner: Logan Goodbred of the Three Fires Council, who led a team that created a memorial for first responders
  • Southern Region winner: Hannah Kathryn Bailey of the Middle Tennessee Council, who led a team that installed mile markers and informational kiosks along the Collins River
  • Western Region winner: Mateo David Sabio Paese of the Pacific Skyline Council, who led a team that assembled water filtration systems at 14 different villages in Honduras
About Michael Freeman 280 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.