BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Today, almost every child has an Xbox, iPod, or iPad and very few kids learn survival skills and how to live on their own. But that is not the case for 17-year-old Berkeley Heights resident John Friedlander, who has been in the Boy Scouts since 2006. On Sunday Feb. 3, Friedlander was presented with the prestigious Eagle Court of Honor at the VFW Post 6259 in Berkeley Heights.
Friedlander, who is in Troop 368, received numerous citations from elected officials and praise from his Troop Advisor William Schultz, Scout Master Rick Jurgens and his father, Colonel John Friedlander. Friends, family members and fellow scouts were on hand to celebrate the joyous occasion with him.
The presentation of the Eagle Court of Honor Award is the highest recognition offered in scouting. For the eagle candidate, this is the climax in his scouting efforts. The wearer of the award is the embodiment of the scouts best efforts and beliefs.
Since he started with the Boy Scouts, he has gone on numerous hikes, went white water rafting, done many hours of community service, received several merit badges and learned how to survive in the outdoors. He thanked his family, friends and troop leaders for all of their support over the years and said he wouldn’t have gotten to where he is today without them.
“I’m thrilled to be speaking at my Eagle Court of Honor, which I never believed I would have achieved when I first started,” Friedlander said. “It’s been a lot fun because it’s a lot of hard work and it pays off.”
His father thanked people for traveling far distances and said it is important to be involved in Boy Scouts because it teaches boys how to be men.
Schultz said he remembers Friedlander when he first started as child and he knew from the beginning there was a strong leader in him. He became a first class scout rather quickly and the outdoors became a second home for Friedlander, he said.
“You took the lead, showing others the way,” Schultz said.
Jurgens admired how Friedlander balanced running track, school, a social life, family and was still able to achieve an Eagle Court of Honor.
“You almost knew that John Friedlander would become an Eagle Scout the way he presented himself,” Jurgens said. “His dedication in scouts is really commendable.”