By Brian Roebke
Kaukauna High School senior Alex Kopischke is now an Eagle Scout.
The journey that began many years ago came to an end Sunday evening when he was presented with his Eagle Scout award from Troop 31 Scoutmaster Rene Petit, with assistance from Eagle Scouts Ryan Simon, Mark Bachhuber, and Steve Martin.
Kopischke’s project was the refurbishment of the water wheel and adjoining house located by the Lock No. 4 of the Fox River Navigational System Authority’s lock system in Kaukauna.
The project began when the City of Kaukauna was looking to complete the project and he decided to take it on. After many obstacles four years later, the project was completed last year.
The water wheel was removed by Kaukauna city crews and brought to De Pere, where a construction company rebuilt it. It was eventually returned, and Kopischke also painted and reshingled the roof of the building.
The son of Amy and Keith Kopischke, heading to UW-Platte-ville this fall, also recently went back and added more gravel and dirt as well as did some plantings to firm up the ground and stop the erosion that’s been plaguing the area.
“I learned a lot about red tape and obstacles,” Kopischke said following his ceremony at the 1000 Islands Environmental Center.
Working with the construction company and dealing with an area that’s owned by the navigational authority and near a body of water were challenging at times.
“You have to make sure you keep everything near the water cleaned up every day,” he said. “There was also a lot of going back to the city asking to do certain things to the wheel.”
He also coordinated getting the decaying wheel removed and brought to De Pere. Some parts were sandblasted, some were replaced, and some of those things were donated.
“Plus also learning the leadership of working with a small team to try to get it done,” he said.
By Brian Roebke