People Taking Action: Local takes action for victims of house fires

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Seventeen year old Brett Shepler  has been a Boy Scout since the first grade.

Recently we caught up with the rising senior at Station 8 in Virginia Beach as he was unloading his Eagle Scout project. They're called burn out bags...duffel bags containing essential items for victims of fires. He organized putting 50 of them together to be handed out to victims of house fires, "Like if they have a baby they have diapers, if they have a smaller child they have a stuffed animal for them...basic necessities like toothbrush, toothpaste a comb."

The burn out bags are loaded onto fire-trucks responding to the scene of fires. "It makes me feel really good helping other people in need like this, especially something as devastating as a house fire---helping them get these bags together, it feels really, really good. "

His mom, Regina Shepler is very proud of his project. "He's done a lot, took him several months-- he followed through. He really did great with his organization." But his dad Don Shepler admits, "Oh gosh the house was a wreck, storing all the materials he collected over time."

Yes, this eagle scout project took over their home where bags and boxes of supplies were stored.

Brett had to organize and lead other scouts to assemble the bags after contacting numerous businesses to donate these items. It took Brett a few months and was a lot of work, "But I chose this because of how close I live to the fire station and I know a few fire-fighters myself. I thought this was a good way to give back since they protect us," he said.

Plus the 50 donated burn out bags free up the fire-fighters according to Volunteer Fire Chief Wayne Richardson, "They don't have to solicit funds; they don't have to solicit donations. They don't have to physically take on the responsibility of putting the bags together."

Which is why News 3 is presenting Brett with a News 3 People Taking Action award along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.

Brett was very grateful saying, "Thank you very much! I'm very honored for this. I'm at a loss for words."