COLDEN, NY- The countdown is on to the paralympic games in PyeongChang beginning March 9.
Locally, a teen from West Seneca is making it easier for people with disabilities to participate in the snow sports they love. Andrew Beehler is this week's "Great Kid."
Any Boy Scout knows a merit badge is much more than just a patch, it's a life skill that's been conquered. Andrew Beehler, 16, a junior at West Seneca East high school, has spent the last decade earning all dozens of badges.
"It's been an amazing journey," said Beehler. "I've learned so much."
From camping, cooking, and archery, to personal management and citizenship. He's been learning, growing and working to earn the most elusive and prestigious rank of them all- Eagle Scout.
"It's been a goal for me ever since I was young," he said.
An Eagle Scout candidate must complete a service project. Andrew discovered, his while hitting the slopes recently at the Buffalo Ski Club, that members of the Hills Angels Adaptive Snow Sports program had trouble getting their gear from their elevated shed.
"They would have to go through the mud, go through the snow and it would be quite difficult because they have a lot of ski equipment. I gave them a level, flat platform that gets them out of the elements and it's an easy platform to work on," said Beehler.
The Boy Scouts Council and Ski Club Board had to approve the sketches. Andrew raised the money, assembled the volunteers, and got to work.
"The outcome is secondary, but the leadership is the sole purpose of the project," he said. "We know that a lot of work has gone into this. Not just the construction, but everything and every year leading up to it," said Mark Beehler, Andrew's father. "So it's a tremendously meaningful experience for all of us."
The director of Hills Angels, Andrew McLellan who is an adaptive skier himself, said the ramp has made a huge difference.
"When we have the deck, we can get access into the equipment, get the athletes into the equipment and get them out onto the slopes. So it's been great," said McLellan.
Not only did Andrew achieve his goal of helping the skiers with disabilities, but in January Andrew finally got that one patch for which he's been working his whole life. He became and Eagle Scout.
"It gives me a sense of pride. If you really put your heart in it, you can achieve anything," he said.
If you have a "Great Kid" you'd like to see featured on Channel 2, share his or her story with Melissa.Holmes@wgrz.com or call 716-849-2216.