Scaring up shelter support

Jared Geisler, 15, collected pet food donations as the entrance fee to his Haunted House Eagle Scout project held this past weekend at the First Presbyterian Church in Montrose. The pet food was donated to True Friends Animal Welfare Center. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

Jared Geisler, 15, collected pet food donations as the entrance fee to his Haunted House Eagle Scout project held this past weekend at the First Presbyterian Church in Montrose. The pet food was donated to True Friends Animal Welfare Center. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

BY PAT FARNELLI

A Forest Lake boy scout was able to donate several thousand pounds of dog and cat food to the local animal shelter, which was donated as admission to his Haunted House, held Friday and Saturday nights in the basement of the First Presbyterian Church of Montrose.

Jared Geisler, 15, spent months preparing for the event in order to earn his Eagle Scout rank. He is a member of Troop 92, led by Ben Curley, which meets at the same church building.

Many 25, 50, and 100 pound bags of dog and cat food were brought to the church by haunted house goers, along with canned pet food and smaller bags of treats, all of which were donated to the True Friends Animal Shelter.
“I have some paperwork left to do, and then the board of review,” Geisler said about his Eagle Scout project. He is the third of four brothers to earn an Eagle Scout award, noted his parents, who played major roles in the haunted house tableaux.

His mother, Heidi Zenefski, presided over an eerie buffet, distracting visitors in the dark room from the seemingly disembodied head of his father, Jon Zenefski, on the table. “Anyone want tacos?” he suddenly shouted, startling visitors as his pale visage lit up.

His brothers Andy and Zach were amid the general darkness and cobwebs of the tomb-like basement. Jason Zenefski, his younger brother, reposed in a coffin. Strands of orange holiday lights, artfully placed battery tea lights, and glow sticks provided slight illumination along the black curtained passages. His aunt, the wicked witch, greeted visitors; his grandmother handed out candy at the end of the journey.

Geisler, currently in tenth grade, is enrolled in the PA Virtual Charter School. Up until last year, he attended Montrose Area School District, and he still participates on sports at the district, including soccer and basketball.

His original choice for the Eagle Scout project was to offer to run the annual baseball bonanza at Choconut Valley Elementary School. Council declined to accept this proposal, saying that since it was an already planned annual event, an original project would be better suited for the Eagle Scout requirements.

“We were talking at an extended family dinner, and brainstorming, and the idea of a haunted house and a food drive for the shelter got everyone excited,” Geisler said.

His whole family pitched into planning and executing the haunted house. “With the amount of time we’ve put into this one, as well as the other two Eagle Scout projects, I told my younger son Jason, ‘You might as well go ahead and build bat houses,’ Heidi said facetiously.

Ben and Erin Harrington attended the haunted house with their two and a half year old daughter, and said outside “It was a lot of fun.” They attend the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Montrose with Geisler and his family. “They toned it down a bit for her,” they said.