ALBANY, NY - While he did not do it for the accolades, Ryan Cannon of Boy Scout Troop 17 in Short Hills was recently awarded by the New York State Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) as the state's Scout of the Year at their annual convention in Albany.
Cannon is a rising senior at Millburn High School and was selected from the over 400 VFW Posts in New York State. He was nominated by VFW District #1, which encompasses Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, & Suffolk Counties, which selected him as their finalist.
The New York State VFW selection committee bestowed the New York State honor to Ryan, although he resides in Millburn, New Jersey. According to VFW Commander Kevin McCann, the basis for their selection was to honor him for his contributions "not only within his home state of New Jersey, but to communities in Texas, South Florida, Puerto Rico, as well the Breezy Point, New York community that serves as the home of [the] VFW Post.”
TAPinto Millburn/Short Hills reached out by email to Cannon, who said it was incredible to be nominated, let alone win.
"Being nominated by Commander McCann and the VFW Post 8540 was such an honor," Cannon said. "When I received the call that I was selected as the NYS Scout of the Year, I was speechless and totally shocked by this unbelievable honor knowing I lived in New Jersey."
In the press release sent out to announce Cannon's selection, McCann noted that Cannon's contributions in Breezy Point, NY have been numerous.
Cannon has worked to deliver snacks and refreshments as well as physically assisting veterans during the Wounded Warriors and Hope for the Warriors aquatic weekends for the last six years. Cannon also worked to assist the VFW with their memorial day Poppy Drive.
Additionally, after experiencing the impact of Hurricane Sandy on his family and the Breezy Point, Cannon was inspired to help fundraise for the victims of other hurricanes. After hurricanes, Harvey, Irma and Maria made landfall in 2017, Cannon single-handedly raised seven thousand dollars of relief funds for the hurricane victims in Houston, the Florida Keys & Puerto Rico.
When asked about that portion of his service, Cannon simply said, "When I see people in need, I have an urge to lean in and take action."
Locally, Ryan organized and led a workforce of 60 volunteers over the course of six days during winter break, renovating the American Legion Hall in Millburn.
Earlier this year, Ryan’s efforts with fellow Eagle Scout Jamie Serruto were also featured in Boys Life Magazine, after the boys successfully lobbied to rename a street "Fineran Way” after their Troop’s deceased Scoutmaster of 36 years.
On the holiday side, Cannon served just this past May as the Millburn Township Memorial Day Coordinator and master of ceremony, working to bring back the annual Memorial Day Parade after a hiatus. As Coordinator, he marshaled more than 30 organizations and had over 1,000 marchers in attendance.
As the VFW Scout of the Year from New York State, Cannon will join nominees from the other 50 states, the District of Columbia & the Virgin Islands, all looking to be named as the VFW National Scout of the Year. Each nominee will have the chance to receive a college scholarship.
As Cannon noted in summing everything up, his service always makes him happy and is something he wants to keep doing.
"Giving back to veterans, community leaders and those in need gives me a sense of accomplishment and drives an inner sense of happiness," Cannon said. "My ambition is to potentially have a career in public service that will enable me to continue to serve others."