By Ali Renckens

Earlier this year, a junior from Bloomingdale High School lost control of his vehicle and fatally crashed into a tree. Now, another student is trying to raise money to build two benches, one in memory of the teen’s  collision.

Connor Hickie, a senior at Bloomingdale, is fundraising for the benches to be built along Nature’s Way Blvd. for his Eagle Scout project.  “The whole point of an Eagle Scout project is to give back and help the community. I knew that the area was in need of benches,” he explained. To him, this project provided an opportunity to both serve the community and memorialize his friend.

Hickie has been involved in Boy Scouts for more than ten years. “Boy Scouts taught me how to lead, not be nervous, communicate better and solve problems in life,” he said. He is a member of Troop 610, which meets at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church. He especially enjoys the high-adventure trips, which test the participants’ skill, strength and will.

Hickie met Zach McCarthy in 6th grade, when the two had classes together. On January 2 of this year, McCarthy was on his way to meet friends for ice cream when he lost control of his car and spun into a tree. “Zach’s death was horrible. It still affects us. None of us had ever lost anybody that close to us.” Hickie added that on the second of each month, friends still gather at the site of McCarthy’s crash to mourn their friend. He hopes to have one of the benches erected at the location of Zach’s crash, finished by the one-year anniversary of his friend’s death. “He had such an impact on me and everyone around us because of who he was. I would like a place just dedicated to his memory to remember him and sit to relax.” Hickie is hoping to raise $2,600 for the two benches. Anyone interested in supporting this effort, please send donations in a sealed envelope to Connor Hickie at 4134 Stringway Circle, Valrico, 33596. Checks should also be made out to Connor Hickie.


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