MONTCLAIR, NJ - The Montclair Township Animal Shelter (MTAS) staff was pleasantly surprised when a local Eagle Scout Troop decided to take on the challenge of restoring the yard and the outdoor dog runs.

Clifford Lindholm, a 17-year old high school senior and Eagle Scout candidate, met MTAS Director Niki Dawson, and after discovering the shelter needs, sought a way to help the shelter and its canine residents.

"What the shelter does is important and I thought there was a need to help them,” said Lindholm.

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This considerable endeavor occurred over the course of several visits and required the assistance of teams of volunteers. Lindholm and the volunteers accomplished many tasks included removing overgrown trees and shrubbery, pulling weeds from the perimeter of the yard, painting the railing, removing debris and, most notably, putting a new roof on the outdoor dog runs.

The nearly 50-member team working with Lindholm from mid-June to early August included volunteers from the scouting community, his friends and his family.

“He worked very hard to get volunteers to help out…and he was very organized and worked well with everyone,” said one volunteer.

When asked what was the hardest part of this project during the course of two summer months, Lindholm said, "It required a lot of coordinating of the work and the volunteers."

“The MTAS is proud to be the beneficiary of this extraordinary young man’s quest to reach Eagle Scout,” said Dawson.

Eagle Scout is the highest honor a scout can earn, an accomplishment attained by about four percent of the boys who enter scouting nationwide. Among the requirements to reach that prestigious level is an extensive service project planned, organized, led and managed by the candidate.

“We would gladly welcome any teenager who’d like to take on this type of project for credit, internship or award,” said Dawson. “Such projects are win-win scenarios for the project leader and our animals.”

The Montclair Township Animal Shelter is located at 77 North Willow Street, Montclair. The shelter opens at 12:00 p.m. seven days a week, closing at 4:00 p.m. every day except Tuesday and Wednesday when it closes at 6:00 p.m. The Shelter provides Animal Control services to Montclair, Verona and Nutley.