ST. CLOUD - St. Cloud Apollo senior Elijah Pruka is the senior patrol leader for Troop 13 in St. Cloud.  He has begun the process of reaching the rank of Eagle Scout.  Part of that process is the Eagle Scout Service Project.  Pruka's project has combined some of the things that are close to his heart.

Elijah Pruka
(Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON)

"I've been around the military. Always loved the military.  Always been around animals, and we've always been rescuing," says Pruka.

His project is called Heroes' Hearts.

Pruka says, "It's in honor of my brother who was killed in action in Afghanistan along with three others.  I am giving animals a home that are in shelters, with veterans with anxiety or PTSD, and we are going to match them through a questionnaire that I've come up with."

Joseph Warner is the scout master for Troop 13.  He says Eagle Scout is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts, and it's something that the scouts have to earn.

I expect them to do a project that's challenging.  He's doing it for the Veterans Administration, not the boy scouts.  It's Boy Scouts serving some other organization.

Having children in the military himself, Warner says Pruka's project means a lot to him.

I'm very proud of him for this project.  I think it's wonderful that he's helping the veterans.  Just got to keep the veterans in mind, and really try to help and serve them, and give them thanks.  We can't thank them enough, but this is a small way to say thank you for their sacrifice for us.

Elijah Pruka
(Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON)

Heroes' Hearts has been in action for a few weeks, but with the cost of adoption ranging from $250 to $300, Pruka says that donations are key.  Once a veteran and a dog are matched up, Heroes' Hearts will also send a gift with the new found friends.

It's what my brother would have definitely wanted.

"We were going to do care packages.  It will be a literal gift basket to start out the veteran, and the animal.  The thing is that the adoption would be completely free to the veteran. We would take care of everything," says Pruka.

If you would like to make a donation to Heroes' Hearts makes donations payable to:

Heroes' Hearts
c/o Long Lake Lutheran Church
3921 277th Avenue NW
Isanti, MN 55040

If you are, or know of a veteran that would like to participate in this program please contact Elijah Pruka by e-mailing him at

You can also reach Elijah after 3:30 p.m. on weekdays, and anytime on weekends
on his cell phone at 763-772-4897.


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