TOWNSEND — Joshua Mackos is a freshman at North Middlesex Regional High School, but among Boy Scouts he has reached the highest rank attainable: That of Eagle Scout.
About 50 of Joshua’s family and friends gathered at the Townsend Congregational Church on Saturday to watch as Joshua received the Eagle Scout honor. Only about 5 percent of Scouts achieve the top rank, according to information published on the Boy Scouts of America Web site. With his achievement, Joshua joins about 1.7 million men who have reached the rank since 1912.
The path to Eagle Scout is not an easy one. A Scout must earn 21 merit badges, serve in a leadership role within a troop as a life Scout for at least six months, and complete a service project that benefits a school, a church or the community. All of the requirements must be completed before the Scout reaches the age of 18.
Joshua, as a member of Boy Scout Troop 10, met and exceeded those requirements, earning 32 merit badges, and serving as the troop’s assistant patrol leader, patrol leader and its librarian, according to troop committee member Garrett Cavanaugh, who led the ceremony. Joshua did so in five years, he added.
“Now, you are on the threshold of your goal, and we welcome you,” Cavanaugh said.
Joshua’s three brothers also welcomed him. Nicolas, Christopher and Matthew have all stood at the same Eagle Scout threshold.
In 1998, Nicolas achieved the Eagle rank, followed in 2000 by his brother, Christopher. In 2004, Matthew received the white neckerchief that indicates a Scout is a member of the National Eagle Scouts Association.
Joshua, who officially passed the board of review last November, received his white neckerchief, fitted by the troop’s advancement chairman, Rise Silvestri. The troop sponsored Joshua’s membership in the association, said Silvestri.
“You are a marked man,” Nicolas told Joshua as he presented him with the Eagle charge. “All who know you rejoice in your achievement. Your responsibility goes beyond your fellow Scouts to your country and God.”
Joshua received a citation from the House of Representatives for his accomplishment, offered by state Rep. Robert Hargraves, who could not attend the ceremony but made it a point to see Joshua beforehand to offer his congratulations.
On behalf of the town, Selectman David Chenelle read a proclamation designating March 3, 2007, as “Joshua Michael Mackos Day” in Townsend.
Matthew, according to a family tradition, presented his brother with a hat and committee member Susan Lewis read the poem “Uniformed Little Boy.”
“With an eagle upon his chest, he soars where once he ran,” the poem reads.
Joshua’s mother, Denise, who has worked with the troop for 12 years, presented a gift to each of her four sons.
Over the years, it had been the tradition to give each of the boys a statuette of an eagle, with wings spread, she said during a tearful speech. Inevitably, she would knock each eagle statuette over while cleaning and break the wings.
“We went through a lot of super glue,” she joked. A more rugged eagle statue has since been found, she noted.
Joshua gave a short speech at the ceremony’s close, thanking his family and friends for celebrating his accomplishment. He also thanked his brothers “for setting a great example for me to follow in their footsteps.”
Most of all, Joshua wished to thank his mother and his father, Tony, for helping him over the years, from Tiger Cub to Eagle Scout.