From former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to Pope Francis, four local Eagle Scouts were celebrated by numerous prominent figures both close to home and far away.
Massimo Accardo, Éamonn Dobey, Aidan Haran, and Oisin Haran from Boy Scouts Troop 45 of Woodside recently completed all the requirements, including their final projects, to become Eagle Scouts.
Their combined Eagle Scout Court of Honor was held at St. Mary’s of Winfield in Woodside on June 17.
All natives of Maspeth and Middle Village, the four young men dedicated their projects to serve local communities. Accardo and Dobey focused on the upkeep and preservation of Forest Park, Aidan Haran restored the backyard of Bonitas Youth Service in Manhattan, and Oisin Haran made renovations and repairs to the schoolyard of St. Mel’s Catholic Academy in Flushing.
“This is an occasion for pride and joy, as well as a time for serious reflection,” Fred Coltrinari, chartered organization representative of Troop 45, said.
“Eagle Scout is the highest recognition that scouting offers to scouts is earned. Only a small percentage of boys who begin scouting receive this honor,” he continued. “The wearer of the Eagle award is the epitome of scouting’s best efforts and beliefs.”
Throughout the ceremony and the various speeches given, the unique bond between the scouts, families, and troop leaders was apparent.
“All the faces that I recognize from throughout the years, you guys have really made this experience worthwhile. From Cub Scouts at six-years-old, these are the families and faces that I’ve seen since day one, and they’ve always been like brothers and sisters,” Accardo said.
“Other parents have been like parents to me, driving me to and from camp, taking care of me, and just looking out for me like I was one of their own,” he continued. “I really appreciate that; it goes a long way.”
The four scouts expressed their gratitude to the troop leaders through the distribution of mentor pins and other sentimental items.
“I have known these boys for a long time, and I am so proud of their projects,” Marie Casalaspro, den leader, said.
“We had the quarantine during the pandemic, but that didn’t stop them,” she continued. “It was amazing to see.”
Donna Manetta, committee chairperson for Troop 45, made arrangements so the ceremony was extra special, including putting together a slideshow of troop photos from over the years, making poster board presentations for the four projects, and reaching out to noteworthy local, national, and even international figures.
The four Eagle Scouts received commendations from a long list of names, including the New York Jets, the Mets, NASA, Sen. Chuck Schumer, former president George Bush, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.
Other local elected officials including State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Congresswoman Grace Meng, and Councilman Robert Holden showed up in-person to celebrate the scouts’ achievements.
“I love Eagle Scout ceremonies because this teaches leadership, and we need good leaders not only in this country, but certainly in the city,” Holden said. “These were great projects, and I want to try to promote more Eagle Scout projects like this. Most of them are community service-based, which teaches the importance of teamwork and volunteering.”
Meng presented the scouts with American flags that have flown over the U.S. Capitol on behalf of them specifically. She said that these flags are reserved for only the highest achievements of constituents in the district.
Addabbo thanked the scouts for their community service, and presented each of them with a citation from the New York State Senate.
“The founder of Boy Scouts, Robert Baden-Powell, once spoke about boys and changing their attitude to go from what they can get to what they can give. As an elected official, that’s what we are so appreciative of,” Addabbo said.
“During these troubled two years with the COVID pandemic, so many people were in need. Scouts throughout our area were giving out food, helping those in need,” he continued. “Scouts are on a great path. Many are successful in life, and they’re good citizens. These citations not only acknowledge their achievement, going from ordinary to extraordinary and being there when the community needs them.”