PEPPERELL — Boy Scout Troop 26 elevated four to the rank of Eagle Scout June 10 during a Court of Honor at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Jersey Street, bringing its total to 41 Eagles dating to 1960.
Christopher Catalini, Travis D. LeBlanc, Aaron J. Simmons and Ryan D. St. Onge are now members of Scouting’s elite, charged with the responsibility to live with honor, loyalty, courage and good cheer and be ready to serve wherever needed.
Like Eagles before them, all worked their way through the classifications of Scouting — Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life Scout — whose requirements were recited. Each received their “charge” from special guests, had their mothers pin the award to their uniforms and, in return, they presented mother, father and mentor pins.
Each was formally presented to the crowded room and a standing ovation.
Scoutmaster David St. Onge officiated the ceremony, stepping aside only once to participate as a father for his son Ryan’s Eagle.
Representing the Board of Selectmen, which last month issued citations recognizing the young men, Joseph Sergi noted the high devotion and commitment each put forth during Eagle projects.
“Please use their example and become active in our community and give back. Volunteer to a local organization or become involved within town government,” Sergi said.
“We have many needs with not enough resources, and only through the efforts of our citizens like these young men can we ensure our town will be a thriving community in years to come,” he said.
Rep. Robert Hargraves, R-Groton, urged everyone to “keep your eyes glued” to “how the American Civil Liberties Union is trying to ruin Scouting,” and — in light of recent objections to the flying of the U.S. flag at Groton’s Minuteman Common and in other towns — promised to “make some noise” about “the way the flag gets treated.”
Presenting citations from the Massachusetts State House and Red Sox hats to each Eagle, Hargraves advised them of the continuing benefits of their achievement, describing it as a “wonderful award to earn.”
St. Onge read citations from the U. S. House of Representatives, obtained by Rep. John Olver.
Catalini, the son of Mark and Angela Catalini, developed a nature trail, installed signs and built a bench along the Nashua River for his Eagle project, working with Conservation Commission administrator Ellen Fisher, who commended him in a letter read by Sergi.
Eagle Scout Michael Dalton charged Catalini to make the future great, advising him he is a “marked man” whose duty is to God, country, community and fellow Scouts.
Catalini named Dalton as his mentor and said he appreciates the rarity of the achievement, since just 3 percent of Scouts are sworn in as Eagles. “To the young Scouts, really stick with it,” he said. “It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.”
LeBlanc, the son of David and Patricia LeBlanc, located and listed veteran’s graves and their military service in three cemeteries going back as far the Civil War, so that they may receive appropriate marking. His charge was given by Eagle John Paolilli Jr.
Naming assistant Scoutmaster James Hoyt as his mentor, LeBlanc said it was Hoyt who convinced him to stay in the Eagle program.
Simmons, the son of Air Force Col. Robert and Tammy Simmons, is the fourth in his family from Troop 26 to earn the award — his father in 1972, and uncles Thomas (1967), Richard (1968) and David (1973). The elder Simmons’ Eagle pins lay in open jewelry boxes on the table. Robert wore his on the breast pocket of his uniform as he congratulated his son.
Simmons’ project was creating better landscaping for the Senior Center. He gave his mentor pin to his grandmother, Theresa, who he said is the “lady who took me in and really got me going” when he was “going through some stuff.”
St. Onge, son of David and Priscilla St. Onge, built a brick walkway to the Vietnam Memorial in front of VFW Post 3291. Dalton read his Eagle charge in the company of his former Scoutmaster, 40-year veteran George Ux.
St. Onge gave his mentor pin to his father, saying, “I don’t know where I’d be without him” and thanking veterans Douglas Sherwood, James McKenna and Michael Flaminio.
“They are no longer boys and are fine young men,” said Scout Committee Chairman Clifford Taylor, with hopes that the four would not end their Scouting careers.
“Remember what was done for you. I hope you come back to help others,” Taylor told them.