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Paez builds benches, planters for St. Anthony
Eagle Benches DSC_0574.jpg

Diego Paez, 17, is looking forward to his Boy Scout Troop 423’s Eagle Court of Honor in mid-December where he will receive the highest honor in Scouting.

Diego had the help of John Mesina – a master carpenter and owner of John’s Custom Outdoor Furniture on Moffat Boulevard — on his Eagle Scout project.

The scout’s project was constructing four 4-foot-long benches and eight square planter boxes that accent the ends of the benches next to the primary wing at St. Anthony’s Catholic School.  The finished work has a coffee stain and marine varnish finish.

Paez said the biggest thing he learned during the project was how to work as a team and to never give up on the project. 

“There were times I wanted to give up but nobody would let me,” Paez said.  “It was also a challenge in getting people to help on the project but several friends came forward.”

Three of his Scouting buddies did help at Mesina’s wood shop location.  They were high school seniors and fellow Scouts Noel Guitterez and Spencer Oberman along with sophomore Isaac Guitterez, also a Scout.

Paez said Mesina put him and his friends through a safety course with each tool they might be using before they were allowed to pick them up and work on the project.  He also noted they used two-inch paint brushes to apply the stain to the finished benches and the accenting planter boxes.

The teen said the benches will be used by first, second and third grade students when they go out to recess and enjoy their snacks.  He added that they will also be available to parents waiting to pick up their children after school lets out in the afternoon.  The boxes will have blooming red cyclamen plants and Southmoon Blueberry plants – something youngsters can snack on from the branches when they ripen.

Two other Scouts in his troop have attained the rank of Eagle – Jesse Jacob, 17, with an irrigation project and Jacob Martinez, 16, who also made benches.  Paez said his dad Robert Lipari helped with taking pictures to show the progress of the project and his mom, Monica Paez, took care of the necessary paper work and the fund raisers to support the cost of the program.  Nearly $1,000 was raised through a Mexican dinner hosted by Las Casuelas Restaurant on West Yosemite Avenue.  

Fr. Chad Wahl, pastor of St. Anthony’s Church, approved the design of the Eagle project and the matching color of the stain to go with the established colors of the church school.

Wood Shop owner Mesina is a Manteca High graduate and has lived in Manteca for 52 years originally hailing from San Francisco as a youngster.  He wrestled at Manteca High under the direction of then Coach Mick Founts and classified as a Power Lifter and competed in the Teenage Nationals and brought home fifth place national honors.  He also attended New Haven Elementary School on North Austin Road. 

To contact Glenn Kahl, email