BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Over 150 community and business leaders and residents celebrated the achievements of four distinguished members of the Berkeley Heights community at the Eighth Annual Berkeley Heights Good Scout Award Dinner on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at The Primavera Regency. The honorees included Joseph Allegra, owner of Sterling Hallmark of Chatham and Stirling; Dolores Scott Cronenberger, Real Estate Professional Prudential NJ Properties; Kathleen Harrison, Executive Vice President/Partner Pharmaceutical Media, Inc; Sue Johnson, Project Graduation Coordinator. Dr. Don DeFabio emceed the event.
"This is a very exciting night that honors true representatives of scouting in the Berkeley Heights community. They are all great representations of models for scouts," said Matthew Muscarella, Life Scout, Boy Scout Troop 68.
Dr. Don DeFabio welcomed the attendees to the award dinner, "It exemplifies a lot of great values and a lot of great moments that we need to bring to our children and to the world right now."
Berkeley Heights is part of the Watchung Hills Mountain District of Boy Scouts of America Patriots' Path Council with over 3,000 youths currently participating in scouting served by seven different scouting units in the region covering Union, Somerset, and Morris counties.
"In Berkeley Heights alone, there are 250 youths in seven different scouting units, that's a pretty good stat. That has a lot to do with community support that we are showing tonight," said Dr. DeFabio. These numbers include three packs of Cub Scouts, 6 to 10 years old; two troops of Boy Scouts, 11 to 18 years old, a Venturing group open to boys and girls age 14 to 20, and an Exploring post for boys and girls who have a career focus open to boys and girls age 14 to 20.
Mayor Bruno congratulated the honorees on their achievements. "Nice to know that these people give their own time, as many of us do, to benefit our children and living in Berkeley Heights. People wonder why we finished in the top six in the country, it's because of these people and this organization and scouting in general to help us to get there with the kind of work they do and the many works that scouting does."
Matthew Muscarella from Troop 68 told the room of supporters about what scouting means to him, "Life changing, once in a life time experience." He was referring to his recent trip with Troop 68 to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. He remembers stories of his grandfather's trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in the 1950s when his grandfather was 12 years old. Matthew plans to return to Philmont as an adult leader. "I hopefully will go with my brother and share the Philmont experience with him." Matthew has received many opportunities through scouting. "I am a better person because of Philmont, I am a better leader, I know how to work with a team, and I am driven to earn my Eagle Scout award. Teach fellow scouts."
"Scouting is about providing service," said Dr. Hal Daume, Patriots' Path Council Honorary Board Member. 58,000 Eagle Scouts around the country have completed community service projects for church, school, community, and other charitable organizations: Red Cross, American Cancer Society and many others. "Here's the bottom line, scouting really isn't about tying knots, the goal is to build model citizens for the next generation for our country's youth."
"Living the Scout Oath and Law, these are words to live by. If all of us are trying our best, imagine what our world would be like. If our religious leaders, business and political leaders tried to live by the Scout Oath and Law, maybe our national debt wouldn't be out of control and we wouldn't be experiencing our government shut down," said Honoree Joseph Allegra. He spoke of his rewarding experience of watching children with issues turn themselves around through scouting and scouts that are shy with low self esteem, stepping out of their comfort zone, relying on newly found inner strength to get them through. He is proud of helping other people. He is most proud of his son's name on the Eagle Scout board at Mt. Park School. "I ask each of you to go home tonight and learn the Scout Oath and Law and try and live by it."
Honoree Dolores Croneberger was thankful and touched of being a recipient. She joked with the attendees stating that she was a bit overwhelmed and if you live to be old enough, you eventually will win an award. Living in Berkeley Heights for 64 years, she had the desire to be involved in everything. "I love Berkeley Heights. I wanted to join the Fire Department but they wouldn't let me drive the hook and ladder, so I decided to be a den mother."
Honoree Kathleen Harrison was honored for the recognition of her years of volunteering service. "I volunteered at school because it mattered to my children. It also gave me awareness of what was going on with teachers and other students," said Harrison. She became a Girl Scout Leader so her daughter would join and stay involved. "Being able to see all the good we were accomplishing made it more meaningful and gave me another reason to keep volunteering." She volunteers to see the difference it can make on children and others. "Volunteering has given me a sense of community, it has given me the opportunity to make many wonderful friends. It also showed my children the importance of giving back to their community and others."
Marsha Miller recognized Honoree Sue Johnson's unique quality and altruistic nature of her service. "She knows that her work is not just for her and her family but about her community at large." Describing Sue as serious, responsible and dedicated. "All qualities that make Sue shine and make her so deserving of the recognition."
Johnson considers herself to be a PTO mom, "People get awards for volunteering for risking their lives to help others. I haven't done that, unless, of course, you count co-chairing Columbia Field Day." She gave credit to the many volunteers that work alongside her in Project Graduation, PTO and Tax Payers for Education. Many of her fellow volunteers were in attendance. "I have gotten as much out of volunteering as I put into it."
"To all the honorees and everyone here deserve a little bit of thanks for making this event happen. You are all heroes, you are heroes of character, compassion, dedication, devotion, selflessness and service ness to the betterment of others. You all exemplify that, just by coming out tonight," said Dr. DeFabio.