Theater gets hand from Boy Scout

Tuesday, July 31, 2007 | 2:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:06 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008
Jake Mingus is the evening coordinator for the chair removal effort this week. Mingus, a member of Troop 233, is volunteering for his Eagle Scout project.

COLUMBIA - The whir of air ratchets and the clanking of crowbars filled the Missouri Theatre on Monday night as volunteers took part in removing its 1,200 chairs. The group of more than 30 volunteers was lead by 14-year-old Jake Mingus as part of his Eagle Scout project. Volunteers from earlier in the day had already made good progress by stripping the carpet off the floors of the 80-year-old building.

“I’m amazed at how much we got done today,” said David White, executive director of the theater.

Jake not only took part in directing the work but also in recruiting volunteers, which involved creating fliers and standing in front of an audience at the theater and asking for volunteers.

“That was a little scary,” said Mingus.

A diverse crowd of volunteers showed up to lend a hand with the project.

“You can give money, and that’s all right, but this feels good, too; it feels like you’re part of it,” said Paul Ladehoff, a volunteer who learned of the project from a flier he saw at a recent symphony performance.

Ann Wakeman unscrews upright armrests from the floor of the Missouri Theatre on Monday evening. Volunteers are needed all this week to help with various demolition tasks. This portion of the restoration project is expected to take over 300 man-hours.
A volunteer at the Missouri Theatre helps stack chair backs and seats as they are removed from the theater floor. The chairs in the best condition will be sold to the public.

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