Marlborough Eagle Scout supports Framingham bereavement center


Marlborough Eagle Scout supports Framingham bereavement center
Marlborough’s Peter DeCruz worked with a team of volunteers on his recent Eagle Scout project.

MARLBOROUGH – When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the family bereavement support provider Jeff’s Place shut down for a year.

When it began to re-open in stages, the Framingham-based center started holding group sessions in its parking lot. But Founding Director Jenny Kaplan said this did not have a homey feel.

Enter Marlborough’s Peter DeCruz, who needed a project in order to become an Eagle Scout.

DeCruz suggested building three large octagonal picnic tables and four Adirondack chairs at the Jeff’s Place site for his project.

Kaplan liked the idea.

“It’s creating these intimate spaces for families to be able to come together just as they would inside,” she said.

Kaplan was further touched because DeCruz and his family had attended Jeff’s Place after the death of his mother, Nicole, from gallbladder cancer in August 2018.

DeCruz said that attending Jeff’s Place helped the healing process for his family, adding that it was important in maintaining his mental health during the time.

Eagle Scout rallies volunteers

DeCruz was inspired to build the tables and chairs to make sure that Jeff’s Place could still have meetings during the pandemic.

He noted that being able to hold outside group sessions would continue to be important after the pandemic.

“Outside is often a more relaxing environment, which can help the members of the group open up more and get more out of the group,” DeCruz said.

DeCruz led a team of volunteers including others from his troop, some scout leaders and his grandfather, who helped cut wood.

It took three days to create the chairs and tables. Sometimes, he added, it was challenging to lead a team because there was often not enough for everyone to do.

“Later on, there was so much stuff that was happening that it was a challenge to coordinate everything,” he continued.

Eagle Scout honors mother’s legacy

DeCruz added that scouting was very important to his mother, who got him involved with it in the first place.

She was a den leader when DeCruz was a Cub Scout, and he said that she saw him and the others scouts grow as they moved up in ranks and helped their community.

DeCruz said that reaching the Eagle Scout rank felt like an honor to his mother’s legacy.

“I intend to do my best to uphold the title of Eagle Scout and live up to the title that I’ve been given,” DeCruz said.

DeCruz’s father Todd, who is the scoutmaster for Troop 2 in Marlborough, celebrated scouting as a great way to build leadership. He said he is happy that his family has been involved with it.

After his wife’s death, Todd DeCruz said that he wanted to make sure that the family had a tool to process their grief. Jeff’s Place, he said, was very helpful for him and his sons.

“One valuable lesson I learned is grief never really goes away, but it ebbs and flows and can come back at a moment’s notice even after a long period of dormancy,” Todd DeCruz wrote in an email.

Learn more about Jeff’s Place at


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