Eagle Scout is the highest, most prestigious and coveted rank in Scouting. It is the last major step in the Scouting advancement program. Only five to six percent of all Scouts in the United States attain this level of achievement.
The awarding of the rank of Eagle Scout is an important and serious occasion. It acknowledges the fulfillment of a goal for which a Scout must work many years to achieve. Medfield’s Boy Scout Troop 89 held an Eagle Court of Honor on September 9th to honor and celebrate three new Eagle Scouts: Connor John Gaffney, Christian John Honan, and Aaron Paul Thole.
The ceremony, held at the United Church of Christ in Medfield, attracted local dignitaries including State Representatives Denise Garlick and Dan Winslow, Selectmen Mark Fisher and Pete Peterson, and Medfield Lions Club Representative Ann Thompson.
The Master of Ceremonies, Troop Committee Chair Jim Schwartz welcomed family and friends. Patti Schwartz, the Troop’s Advancement Chair, not only catalogued, tracked and recited the long list of the boys’ achievements and qualifications, but also tirelessly worked to organize the event, which went off without a hitch.
Seven Rivers District Commissioner and Medfield resident Jerry Kazanjian delivered the invocation, followed by Scoutmaster Rick McKinney’s commencement remarks to the Court. Virtually the entire troop, adult leaders and especially the Scouts themselves had a role in the affair, and more importantly, in the success of the Troop to bring the three honorees to the highest level in Scouting.
Praise and gift-giving followed, with former Scoutmaster, and still current assistant, Michael McGowan, presenting his traditional pocket-watch gift to the new Eagles, followed by former Scoutmaster Rick Schaub presenting “The Legacy of Honor” (by Alvin Townley), a book outlining the success of many other Eagle Scouts. Current Scoutmaster Rick McKinney offered his own traditional gift, the Scouts’ first Eagle Feather, to commemorate their first step into adult leadership. Kanzanjian obtained the “autographs” of these three young men, noting he has now close to 100 such mementos.
Troop 89’s official sponsor, the American Legion, Beckwith Post #110, through its commander, Frank Iafolla, recognized each Eagle with an ornate plaque noting their achievement. Offers of Resolution in the State Capitol were made, as noted by Representatives Garlick and Winslow. Letters of Commendation from Senators Brown and Kerry and President Obama were read aloud by Assistant Scoutmasters Barry Rollins and John Dalton.
The following is a biographical summary of Troop 89’s newest Eagles:
Connor Gaffney began scouting in 2005 when he joined Troop 89. On his trail to Eagle, he earned 22 merit badges. He successfully completed Junior Leadership training and demonstrated his leadership ability within Troop 89 in the capacities of Patrol Leader and Assistant Instructor.
Connor’s Eagle Scout Service Project involved repairing and replacing 800 feet of fencing around the Medfield Rhododendron Reservation. This area, called the “Medfield Rhododendrons”, is one of the few reservations of the almost extinct Rosebay Rhododendron in the United States. Over the years, the deer have been eating this endangered species. This project included removal of existing damaged fencing and poles, digging holes 1 ½ feet deep for new poles and stabilization of existing poles, and erecting the new fencing. Connor’s project took 104.5 hours to complete.
Connor attended Medfield High School, graduating this past June. While there, he was a group leader in both the Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry and Physics classes, teaching other students in both subjects because of his mastery of the material. He was inducted into the National Honor Society for demonstrating scholarship, leadership, and character. Connor also participated in Medfield High School’s sports program on the Cross Country, spring track, and winter track teams. He was employed by McDonald’s for several years.
Connor is currently a freshman at Northeastern University where he plans on studying Psychology and Neuroscience, due to his avid interest in the human mental condition and the problems that may develop. Connor’s goal is to become a practicing psychologist or psychiatrist in private practice.
Christian Honan began scouting in 2006 when he joined Troop 89. On his trail to Eagle, he earned 29 merit badges. He completed Junior Leadership training and demonstrated his leadership ability within Troop 89 in the capacities of Assistant Patrol Leader, Quartermaster, Historian, and Webmaster. In addition, he is a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow. Christian also attended Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico where he earned the 50-Miler Award.
Christian’s Eagle Scout Service Project involved building a sensory trail at BiNA Farm in Sherborn, MA. BiNA Farm is an equestrian therapeutic non-profit organization that helps people with developmental, emotional, and physical disabilities. This project entailed clearing a 340 foot trail, so that both the horse and therapist/guide could walk side by side, construction and installation of 5 sensory stations that include: a mailbox station where rider can leave or retrieve special mail, a free standing bean bag toss with a variety of colored shape openings, a basketball station, a xylophone station where the rider can hit metal pipes and make music and a noodle station where the rider has the option to ride thru hanging swimming pool noodles at end of the trail. Once the trail was completed, BiNA Farm held a dedication of Christian’s Sensory Trail where Christian cut the ribbon and watched the first rider with his therapist/guide use the sensory stations. Christian’s project took 160 hours to complete.
In the Eighth Grade, Christian was one of only 6 students to receive the Four R’s Award. The Four R’s are for Respect, Responsibility, Reflection, and Resourcefulness. He is currently a senior at Medfield High School where he is a member of the National Honor Society. Christian also participates in the Medfield High School’s sports program where he is a member of the Spring Track and Field team. During his junior year, Christian became a member of Medfield High School’s Drama Club and participated in the Fall Play and the Spring Musical. During the summer of 2011, he was a Counselor in Training at YMCA Camp Coniston in Sunapee, New Hampshire. Upon completion of his Eagle Project at BiNA Farm, Christian began volunteering there and has found great satisfaction in working with children with special needs.
Christian is already thinking to the future. He excels in history and is fascinated with how people in the past lived and the technology they used. Christian has decided he would like to share that passion as a high school history teacher.
Aaron Thole began scouting in 2005 when he joined Troop 89. On his trail to Eagle, he earned 45 merit badges. He successfully completed Junior Leadership training and demonstrated his leadership ability within Troop 89 in the capacities of Quartermaster, Assistant Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader, Troop Guide, and Instructor. He is also a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow.
Aaron’s Eagle Scout Service Project involved reconstruction and installation of erosion bars at the Cedar Hill Path in Rocky Woods. Due to years of erosion and rotting of the original erosion bars, it was very difficult to walk up the path to Cedar Hill. To eliminate the problem, Aaron replaced 9 erosion bars. He first marked the areas with Mr. Francis, Superintendent of the Trustees of the Reservation where each erosion bar was to be place. At each marker, a trench was dug at a 30 degree angle to the trail so water will have a way to move off the trail. Then a 6 x 6 x 10 piece of pressure treated lumber was placed in the trench and a steel rebar was hammered through the wood into the ground for stability. Once the log was set, the area above the log was back-filled, graded, and compacted. Aaron’s project took 148 hours to complete.
Aaron attended Medfield High School and graduated this past June. At graduation, he received the American Legion School Award. He was very active in Medfield High School’s Music Program, as section leader of the Horn Section for the Marching Band and section leader of the Bassoon Section of Medfield High School Concert Band. While Aaron was a member of the Concert Band, the band received multiple silver awards at MICCA and a Gold Medal at the North American Music Festival. Aaron also worked for three years at McDonald’s in Millis, Massachusetts.
Aaron is currently a freshman at University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He is planning on majoring in chemical engineering.