By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – In spite of the pandemic, Shrewsbury’s Boy Scout Troop 114 had an unprecedented year in 2020 when 11 of the scouts earned the prestigious Eagle rank.
Because of the pandemic, many of the scouts did not get the chance to celebrate as they normally would have. But for the scouts – Donald Aicardi, Anish Desai, Grady Fabbri, Sean Hammitt, Jacob Hendricks, Nick Holmlund, Tate Oppenheim, Matt Scearbo, Varun Sabbiah, Vasant Sundaresan, and Aidan Wells – it was still all worth the effort, they agreed.
Scoutmaster Ross Clark and leaders Stephen Hess and Rick Spurr said they were proud of these young men, many of whom are now away at college.
And never in the troop’s 100-year plus history have this many Eagle Scout ranks been awarded. That’s quite an accomplishment in a normal year but it’s even more impressive considering the circumstances.
Benefit to community
Clark said that these projects, by design, are designed to afford the scouts the opportunity to lead but will also leave a lasting benefit to the community.
Aicardi created nearly 120 essentials packages for Veterans Inc., to help veterans who are transitioning from group to individual housing. He recruited fellow scouts to put together a stand in front of his local Price Chopper where they asked customers if they would buy and donate toiletries, etc.
Desai was two days into his project, building raised flower beds and picnic tables at Floral Street School, when he had to stop because of the lockdown.
“Right when I started getting into things, I had to stop abruptly so I had to wait a few months before things started back up…” he said.
He was glad to get back to work in July when the school and troop leadership said it was okay. It was important because that was the elementary school he had attended, he said.
Hammitt’s and Hendricks’ projects were both sponsored by the Shrewsbury Little League and each refurbished concession stands. Hammitt’s stand was at Dean Park while Hendricks was at Coolidge Elementary School.
“One of the reasons we originally sought out these ideas is because concession stands are a major fundraising source for the Little League,” Hendricks remarked.
Scearbo’s project was to upgrade the cross-country course at Shrewsbury High School as well as to build a kiosk listing nearby trails.
“We didn’t have a map of the area. We put it in a visible place so it allowed more people to actually learn that trails were there,” he explained.
Wells was a camper at Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center & Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester. Like several of his fellow scouts he wanted to give back so he refurbished a bridge and trail at the center.
Fabbri built little libraries; Holmlund refurbished the learning garden at Floral Street School; Oppenheim upgraded parking and storage at Lake Quinsigamond for the SHS Crew Team; Sundaresan collected and cleaned used instruments for the Joy of Music Program for underprivileged children and Subbiah refurbished a hiking trail at Carlstrom Park.
Spurr added that to see these young men grow has been a “great honor” and “none of their projects were easy, none of their journeys through scouting were easy…”
“It’s the planning and the execution but it’s also the fundraising to make these things happen for the community. And I think that is super impressive,” Hess remarked. “They are leaving a lasting legacy in our town.”
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