Giving Back

Eagle Candidate and Boy Scout Troop 617 Complete Johnny Appleseed Lane in Olean’s Franchot Park

Eagle candidate Antonio Belvees and Boy Scout Troop 617 prepare to lay memorial blocks in ground near Johnny Appleseed Lane in Franchot Park. Credits: Hailey Rose Gattuso
Memorial blocks and plaques from the Johnny Appleseed Lane project begun in 1990. Credits: Crandall's Memorials
Volunteers finishing laying blocks in the ground by Johnny Appleseed Lane in Franchot Park, Olean. Credits: Crandall's Memorials.

OLEAN, NY – Olean Boy Scout Antonio Belvees was looking for a project so he could complete requirements to become an Eagle Scout.

And Kathy Boser of Allegany had just the project in mind.

She knew that what needed to be done was the laying in the ground of memorial blocks for Johnny Appleseed Lane in Franchot Park. The project had been started in 1990 with the planting of crabapple trees, and for each tree donated, a block was inscribed with wording of the donor’s choice. Some donors chose memorials to people; some chose tributes to local organizations. Each was supposed to be put in the ground by a tree.

Sign Up for E-News

“There are only two trees that I’m aware of that had the blocks put down,” Boser said, adding that over the years some of the crabapple trees have been removed or replaced.

The other 50 or so blocks had not been put down for 26 years.

Johnny Appleseed Lane, located at the start of the Franchot Park walking path, is adjacent to the park’s Children’s Memorial Garden, a project founded in 1995 by the late Ann Padlo and one that Boser took over at the founder’s request.

While Boser was checking with Crandall’s Memorials of Olean about removing rotting lumber in the Children’s Memorial Garden, she found out that the blocks and the plaque from the Johnny Appleseed Lane Project were in storage at Crandall’s.

Crandall’s, Boser recalled, “really wanted something to happen. It became my mission to try to bring that to completion even though I wasn’t involved in that project.”

So Boser talked to the Belvees family, and the Boy Scout and his family were taken with her idea and the story behind it.

“Once Antonio heard about it, he was determined,” Boser said. “He was going to do it whether or not it was for his Eagle Scout project. It’s a wonderful project. It’s wonderful to get the Scouts involved.”

Belvees said he was thankful that Boser came to him because he was struggling to find an idea for his project.

“I was stumped,” the Scout said. “Then Kathy came up with the idea, so we thought it would be a good project to finally put this problem to rest.”

Belvees and Boser approached Olean Mayor William Aiello to make sure that he was included in the process.

“We barely had to explain it. He was for this project,” Belvees said.

Cory Crandall of Crandall’s Memorials said that the Boy Scouts were efficient in getting the project done, and that the support from the community helped too.  He noted that prior community interest had not brought the project to completion.

“No one at this point has moved the project forward as Antonio did,” Crandall said. “It was great timing that Antonio needed to fulfill his Eagle Project this year.”

Crandall and his father Curt, company president and Eagle Scout, assisted Belvees by offering suggestions, cleaning the blocks and providing small filler bricks. They also helped Antonio carve a granite block that recognizes his Eagle Project.

“They took him under their wing,” Boser said. “They knew it was his project so they wanted him to do the planning, but really helped him as far as making the layout.”

Boser said that it took about a year for Belvees to complete the project.

For the bricklaying in October, Crandall’s provided equipment and machinery and helped the troop install the blocks, bricks and plaque.

Boser said she was overjoyed to see Scouts and families from Troop 617 working together to complete the long-delayed project.

“The Boy Scouts were there working,” said Boser, who works at St. Bonaventure University as an administrative assistant to the institutional review board and the dean of the Jandoli School of Communication. “Everyone was invested and involved in it, which was great.”

Belvees said he was happy that he was able to help families in Olean and provide them a sense of closure.

“It made me feel really good about myself,” Belvees said. “Finishing a project that hasn’t been completed and was forgotten about for so many years really makes you feel good.”  

Belvees provided a piece of advice for anyone wishing to reach out to help their community:

“Just go out and ask,” he said. “Don't be afraid to go do something right. There are no excuses.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Greater Olean

'March for Our Lives' Started A Historic Movement

Shoes on the ground. People chanting. Signs held high. Music playing in the background.

It is the start of a historic movement. A moment when every race, gender and age came together as one. A movement that involved change and a March for Our Lives.

As a student journalist going out to the world, taking part in a national movement truly moved me. Reporting the significance of March for ...

Bonnies Historic Season Will Give Community Source of Pride Years to Come

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY -- The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball season came to an end earlier than the team had hoped. Coaches looked disappointed, and players covered their faces with towels. St. Bonaventure’s (26-8) loss to Florida (21-12) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament left many thinking what if?

However, the Bonnies historic season is nothing for the team to ...

Sights and Sounds: The First Four of the NCAA Tournament

Traffic is a common occurrence, but for fans of the Dayton Flyers, it’s a usual event every gameday. A trip across the Great Miami River leads to the Flyers’ athletic complex. It became the same ritual for Bonnies fans heading to the University of Dayton Arena for the team's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012.

Snow, sleet and hail pounded down on the car as we ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, April 26, 10:00 AM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Stories and Stretches


Thu, April 26, 3:45 PM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Pokemon Club

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, April 26, 6:30 PM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Trivia Night

Arts & Entertainment

St. Bonaventure Dedicates New WNY Cybersecurity Research Center

April 25, 2018

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY – More than 175 business leaders, educators, scientists, students and politicians were on hand the morning of April 25 as St. Bonaventure University unveiled the Western New York Cybersecurity Research Center.

The WNY Cybersecurity Research Center is a collaboration between St. Bonaventure, National ICT Japan, Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity and New Zealand ...

New Scholarship Dedicated to ALCS Teacher “Bernie” Taylor

ALLEGANY, NY -- The teachers that make learning simple and fun while connecting with students are often the ones most fondly remembered.

Bernadette “Bernie” Taylor was that kind of teacher at Allegany-Limestone Central School for more than 30 years according to her widower, Thomas Taylor.

“She had the skill of making chemistry easy. Chemistry tends to be tough for ...

'A Day in the Life': One Transportation Supervisor Serves Portville and Olean

PORTVILLE, NY – A whiteboard with dozens of destinations and vehicle numbers written in various colors sits inside the Portville bus garage, ready to be changed at any moment. David Youngs, the transportation supervisor of the Portville and Olean School Districts, knows that before 2 almost every afternoon, he is likely to receive an email changing the entire meticulously planned ...

'A Day in the Life' Follows Della Moore of the African American Center for Cultural Development

OLEAN, NY – When Della Moore walks down the street, she greets everyone she passes and makes sure to ask, “How are you doing?” 

From the moment I joined her at the 7-Eleven on a cloudy, cold December morning until we finished making our stops along State and North Union streets, she remained ...

'Day in the Life' Follows Warehouse Selector Justus Elliot

OLEAN, NY -- For Justus Elliot, time and pace are essential. As a warehouse selector for Olean Wholesale Grocery Co-Op, most of the 21-year-old’s job calls for efficiency.

“Everything is time-based," Elliot explained. "One hundred percent is the norm, and it’s what we work for every day. If our score is less, then we are moving too slow, and we kick it into ...

Happy Veterans Day, Mom

What began as an attempt to boost her GPA soon turned into a 22-year career for my mom, Ramona Lee Discavage.

On the first day of her freshman year at St. Bonaventure University in 1989, members of the Army ROTC Seneca Battalion helped incoming freshmen move their stuff into their dorm rooms.  Afterward, they invited all of the freshmen to a lunch.

“When they described the ...

Lynn Kemp: ‘Best Soldier I Could Be’

Lynn Kemp is nearing 95 and knows he has lived a good life.

“The good Lord has been awful good to me,” recalled the lifelong resident of Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania. “I never refused an order. I tried to be the best soldier I could be. I don’t know what your relationship is with God, but mine is pretty close.”

Born Oct. 29, 1920, Lynn grew up in a home on Turkey ...

WW II museum provides role models for young people

When Steve Appleby asks area students if they know Snoop Dog, Eminem, Kanye West, the Kardashians, Parris Hilton or Miley Cyrus, they answer yes. Then Appleby will ask which of them knows Jason Dunham is, and the students will not have a clue.

Appleby will explain that Jason Dunham was a Marine from Scio, in Allegany County, New York, who was killed in Iraq in 2006 after jumping on a grenade ...