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Troop 150 Honors Six Eagle Scouts

Jennifer Dericks

Sunday, May 4, 2014 • 1:18am

SPARTA, NJ-Boy Scout Troop 150 celebrated six scouts who received their Eagle Scout Award, Boys Scouts highest rank. Michael Delaney, Dylan Panicucci, Matthew Saba, Thiago Santos, Andrew Smith, and Andrew Thomas were honored for having completed all of the requirements of the rank.    The Eagle Court of Honor was held in the Sparta High School Auditorium to accommodate all of the friends, family and invited guests wishing to be a part of the ceremony. 

The ceremony opened with Master of Ceremony and Eagle Scout John Puszcz calling the meeting to order and directing the presentation of the colors.  Sebastian Cook, Brendan and Gregory Puszcz were the members of the Color Guard.

With a welcome by Scoutmaster and Eagle Scout Joe Fucito and an invocation by Father David McDonnell, Pastor of our Lady of the Lake Parish, the Court of Honor began.

John Puzcz and Tyler Hepp explained the Scout Oath and Law in a candle lighting ceremony.  Stages of Scouting was presented by Eagle Scouts Ryan Balemian, and Julian Buttitta, Life Scouts Anthony Pugliese, Erich Schwarzrock and Thomas Wolfe, Star Scout Jonathan Iannuzzi and scouts Aiden Hannon and Jackson Jurevich. 

There were additional presentations by Joe Galley and John Puszcz.  Eagle Scouts Balemian, Scott Byers and Fred Clauss escorted the Eagles to be honored onto the stage.  Stan Puszcz, Assistant Scoutmaster,  spoke about scouting experiences of each of the new Eagles.  John Puszcz, Rohan Drummond, Chris Rozek, Cook, Clauss and Hepp, all Eagle Scouts themselves, reviewed the Obligations of an Eagle Scout.   

Scoutmaster Fucito led the boys in the Eagle Scout Promise and presented each with the Eagle certificate.   

Michael Delaney began as a Tiger scout in first grade with Pack 82.  As a Boy Scout he earned 22 Merit Badges. Delany participated in many trips and camping experiences including Mystic Seaport, white water rafting, Gettysburg, Resica Falls Scout Reservation, Sebattis Adirondack Trek, High Adventure Camp at Sea Base in Florida and Acadia Maine primitive camping. 

Delaney's Eagle Scout project was to build hunting blinds for handicapped soldiers.  A hunter himself, Delaney constructed three blinds For the Wounded Warrior Project through Hunters Helping Heroes. 

Dylan Panicucci began scouting with Cub Scout Pack 150, joining in fourth grade as a Webelos I.  He recalls some of his most memorable times as a Boy Scout including bitterly cold Klondikes, Scout Jamboree at the New Jersey State  Police Barracks and white water rafting  in the Lehigh River Gorge.  He recounted many memorable times at summer camp in Resica Falls and Sea Base High Adventure Camp.  Panicucci does hold one experience above all, however; the annual trip to West Point football game.  Panicucci will be attending the United State Military Academy in September. 

Panicucci's Eagle Project was the construction of a cinderblock rebound lacrosse wall at Station Park.  He coordinated with the township and organized the project that required over one hundred volunteer hours. 

Another scout that started at the Tiger level, Thiago Santos began with Pack 82.  After crossing over into Troop 150 Santos attended summer camps at Resica Falls.  He also traveled with the Troop to Philadelphia, Boston,  Gettysburg Battlefield and Washington DC where he toured the inside the White House and Capitol Buildings.  While at Klondike he led his Patrol to the highest score the troop has achieved to date.  Thiago has completed training at National Youth Leadership and is pursuing his STEM Super Nova award. 

A freshman at Sparta High School, Thiago has earned 23 merit badges so far and has held leadership positions in the troop.  For his Eagle project  Thiago build benches in Jonathan Woods park in Rockaway.  He got donations from local businesses and coordinated volunteers for his project that took more than 96 hours. 

Andrew Smith was a cub scout with Pack 82.  As a boy scout with Troop 150 Smith went on many camping trips.  He attended skills week end, State Trooper Camporee, winter cabin camping and Klondike, summer camp and eventually high adventure trips.   His favorite memory from high adventure trip to Sabattis was hiking to the top of Mount Ampersand.  High adventure to Sea Base in Florida brought its own memories of sailing, snorkeling and sleeping under the stars. 

Smith's Eagle project was to create a memorial garden at Sparta High School in remembrance of his friend and classmate Anthony Greenberg.  Greenberg's parents attended the ceremony.  Greenberg's mother expressed her gratitude for the caring gesture Smith's project represented.  Smith plans to dedicate the space in the near future. 

Andrew Thomas's scouting experience begins as a Bobcat in Pack 82.  After completing cub scouts as a Webelos II, Thomas credits his friend Matt Saba and Matt's father for encouraging him to continue with scouting.  Jumping right in and earning his first badge on his first camping trip, he quickly realized it was the right decision.  As he continued in his scouting career, he took on ever increasing leadership roles within the troop; beginning  as an Assistant Patrol Leader, culminating with Junior Assistant Scoutmaster.  He looks at National Youth Leadership Training as one of the most important experiences as a scout.

Thomas's Eagle project was in service to the seniors of the Sparta community.  He replaced 45 window boxes at Knoll Heights Senior Center coordinating the project of over one hundred volunteer hours.

After the Eagle's received their certificates from the troop, their parents were called to the stage to receive their Eagle Scout Parent pins.

There were several invited guests who made presentations to the boys including Martin Schweighardt for the Veteran's of Foreign Wars Post 7248, Laura Tirpack from Patriots' Path Council, Township Council member Gil GIbbs and  Sussex county Freeholders  Phillip Crabb and Dennis Mudrick.  Friends and family members read letters of congratulations the boys had received from people including State Senator and Assembly members Steven Oroho, Alison Littell McHose and Parker Space and United States Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen. 

Fucito made closing remarks and gave the Benediction.  Everyone proceeded to the cafeteria for a catered dinner. 

Statistics provided by the Boy Scouts of America say that only two of every one hundred scouts will reach the rank of Eagle.  The afternoon at Sparta High School there were more than twenty Eagles present in the auditorium.  Most of them were boys still active in the troop. 

In his comments Mudrick remarked about the unusual number of Eagle's, saying, "I don't know what you are doing but you guys must be doing something right."

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