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Bourbonnais teen raising money for monument dedicated to Gold Star families

Mar 04 2024
Natalie Bomke | FOX32 Chicago

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. - A young woman in Bourbonnais is on her way to achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, but she needs your help with her final project, and it's a big one.

Alexis McCullough, 16, is building a monument dedicated to Gold Star families in the south suburbs.

"The fact that there's thousands of other kids out there, who are also experiencing loss of a parent, I just wanted to be able to make something to memorialize all of our families," Alexis McCullough said.

She joined the Boy Scouts shortly after the passing of her father, Col. Mark McCullough. He died of a heart attack on active duty, after a more than 30-year career with the U.S. Army.

"Just taking that grief and being able to put it toward something...that benefits not only myself but my entire community," Alexis McCullough said.

The Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School student is raising $120,000 dollars to construct a Gold Star Memorial Monument at Bourbonnais' Marcotte Park.

"The first thought I had was 'wow, it's going to be a very big and challenging project but I know because she is able to set a sight on something, she obtains everything that she puts her mind to," said Cassandra, Alexis' mom.

In three years, Alexis has earned 36 scout badges in skills like welding, citizenship, horsemanship and music. A Boy Scout needs only fifteen to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.

"I think that girls need to know that they can have a goal, try everything, have the courage to try anything that your heart desires," said Cassandra.

Chipping in $5,000 of her own savings, Alexis has raised $11,000 so far. It's a tribute to her father and others who truly know the sacrifice of service.

Alexis has until October 2025 to raise the funds. You can learn more by visiting McCullough Gold Star Project on Facebook.