The Geauga Lyric Theater Guild (GLTG) received a gift this summer from a Chardon resident looking to earn his Eagle Scout ranking. Raymond Bender, of Scout Troop 6519, decided his Eagle Scout project could benefit an organization that has been near to his heart. He knew that the GLTG was in need of some remodeling, and as with many community theaters, funds to do such projects are often hard to come by.
Michael, Bender’s father, said that Ray had several meetings with the theater before they chose what the project would entail. Bender, 17, decided to provide a facelift to the ticket and concession area by installing new cabinets and counters along with the help of carpenter Aaron May. Scout Leader Jason Arotin helped the younger Bender to get into the Kraftmaid auction where five cabinets were purchased.
Ray has been involved with the GLTG since he was small and wanted to show his appreciation for what this community theater has done for him. “I chose the theater for all the great years it has given me. Theater has been a part of my life since I was 9. If the Geauga Lyric Theater wasn’t in this community, I don’t know if I would have ever had the opportunity to act.”
Bender, a rising senior at Chardon High School, has been an active member at GLTG and Chardon High School’s drama department for many years. Bender has been in 13 shows, including the OCTA Award winning I Never Saw Another Butterfly, with Pippin being his last. Besides his acting, scouting, skateboarding and soccer talents, he also is a member of Chardon’s drumline.
Kathy, his mother, said that both Ray and his sister Emily have had such positive experiences at Geauga Theater, and she was so proud that he chose to work on his Eagle Scout Project there. “The project turned out wonderful. We hope the theater is enjoying it,” said Kathy Bender. “Ray was able to raise funds for the project through the theater community and from family members all over country. His family knew what this project meant to Ray because of his love for scouting and theater.”
Geauga Lyric Guild President Lee Ann Tamburrino is humbled by his wish to do his project for the theater. “Ray is such a fine young man,” said Tamburrino. “He exemplifies all that a scout should be. The Geauga Lyric Theater Guild is honored to have his project be part of our legacy.”
Bender’s sense of pride in his community really sums it up. “I just wanted to give back to something that has given so much to me.”
The historic Geauga Theater is located on beautiful Chardon Square at 101 Water Street, Chardon, Ohio. Tickets or season passes can be purchased through the website or by calling the box office at (440) 286-2255.
Photo detail: Ray Bender, with finished counter at GLTG, as his Eagle Scout Project.