Overland Park teen collects 540 winter coats for Eagle Scout project

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An Overland Park teenager gathered 540 winter coats as part of his Eagle Scout project.

In late November, Grant Pomianek, a Boy Scout and freshman at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, filled a hitch trailer with winter outerwear for low-income families.

He donated them to the Johnson County Christmas Bureau, a nonprofit, non-denominational agency that aims to make the holidays brighter for low-income families.

The idea came from his dad

Pomianek said the idea for the project came to him while he was talking with his dad, Matt Pomianek, who previously collected coats for the organization.

“I was like, ‘That would be really, really, really nice,'” Grant Pomianek said. “It was very straightforward. Very simple.”

Originally having ambitions for 1,000 coats, Grant Pomianek scaled it back. Still, he said he received an overwhelming response from the community.

“It was way more than I expected and a ton more than they expected,” he said.

The coat drive was community-driven

Pomianek said he used his church and old schools, like St. Thomas More School, as hubs to collect coats.

“We just gave them the gist of what was going on that I was doing my Eagle Scout project, and that any coat would be gratefully accepted,” Grant Pomianek said. “It all worked out very well. I couldn’t have done it without my community.”

As the teen collected coats, they stored them in his family’s garage.

“The more they stacked up, the happier and happier I got,” he said.

Boy Scout
Grant Pomianek. Photo via Johnson County Christmas Bureau Facebook page.

Grant Pomianek is working on his Eagle Scout honor

While he also plays football and lacrosse and wrestles, Pomianek has been working diligently on earning his Eagle Scout certification, the highest achievement a Boy Scout can receive.

To attain that, a Scout must earn at least 21 merit badges. Part of it also requires conducting an extensive service project that Scouts plan, organize, lead and manage themselves. 

Having completed the project, Pomianek has one more merit badge and some paperwork to complete. He said it’s been a wonderful journey.

“At a freshman level, it’s almost like a badge of honor. It feels really nice to finally get it before some of the guys who’ve been doing it a lot longer than I have,” he said.

It’s all about helping others

Grant Pomianek said he feels good knowing that those coats will help keep a lot of people warm this winter.

“It feels very good to help other people,” he said. “That’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to do Boy Scouts, was because you’re helping people and that’s always kind of been my thing. It really just comes down to helping people.”

He encourages anyone with similar values to do the same.

“It’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because it’s taught me so much and it’s kind of been a guide or through my life. So I’m very happy I did it,” he said.

About the author

Andrew Gaug
Andrew Gaug

👋 Hi! I’m Andrew Gaug, and I cover Shawnee and Lenexa for the Johnson County Post.

I received my bachelor’s degree in journalism from Kent State University and started my career as a business reporter for The Vindicator in Youngstown, Ohio.

I spent 14 years as a multimedia reporter for the St. Joseph News-Press before joining the Post in 2023.