ORANGEVALE (CBS13) – A group of Boy Scouts in Orangevale replanted an orchard of orange trees on Tuesday five months after they were taken in the middle of the night.
“We wanted to make it better because a couple of planters without trees look a little bland,” said 14-year-old Orion Palomar, a member of Boy Scout Troop 144.
From 9 years old all the way to 18, the scouts aren’t bitter about what happened back in November. Instead, with smiles, they made it their mission to resurrect their community garden at the church they call home.
“We like to get our hands dirty and get in there,” said 16-year-old RJ Smith. “When we heard about it, we were really distressed that someone was willing to vandalize this so we really wanted to give back and help the church.”
The troop was able to replant the trees after receiving donations from the community. Back in November, Pastor Scott Guemmer looked outside to find the church orchard vandalized.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me,” he said.
Four of the six orange trees planted by the Boy Scouts were gone. Guemmer shared surveillance video with CBS13 showing a person digging out one of the trees and taking it away.
“We did report it to the police and unfortunately the police never came through,” Guemmer said.
The fruit was supposed to be a new source of produce for the Orangevale Food Bank.
“Our first response was ‘How can we help!?” Palomar said.
But Smith called the whole ordeal a good lesson in resilience for his fellow Boy Scouts.
“If something is a setback, you get back up, you dust yourself off and you climb over it and you keep moving,” Smith said.
The community pitched in and soon after the theft, the troop received enough donations to buy four brand new trees.
“If someone steals them again, we’ll just replant them,” Palomar said.
And while Palomar said he’ll be checking on the trees often, it’s not because he’s eager to taste one himself.
“I can go buy some oranges but for the people who need them, they can have them,” the 14-year-old said.
Pastor Guemmer said they could have replanted the trees months ago, but the weather kept getting in the way. Now, they’re hoping for sunny spring days and expect to see oranges show up as soon as next year.