BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – At the 6th Berkeley Heights Good Scout Awards on October 5, four honorees were recognized for their outstanding contribution to their community, in the company of over a hundred guests in a celebration at the Primavera Regency in Stirling. Each was presented with a joint declaration from the New Jersey Legislature sponsored by Assemblyman Jon Bramnick and Congressman Leonard Lance. They also each received a flag that had previously flown over the United States Capitol in Washington DC and a golden Good Scout emblem presented by the Patriots Path Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
"Our parents were consummate volunteers and as I thought about my commitment to volunteerism, I realized how much my parents’ values and actions influenced me," said Libby Apicella, honored for her many contributions to the community including the CAST team to support the arts, the Wharton Music Center, Boy Scout Troop 368, the Rubber Ducky Festival and more.
Daniel Bernier was honored for his long service to the Deserted Village and for his many volunteer roles in Scouting - including being leader of 3 different units simultaneously! On Scouting he said: "Boy Scouts of America is not a camping organization, it is a values organization. Camping is just one way we develop good character, citizenship, and physical fitness. Our communities need to foster those values, now more than ever." Dan went on to highlight how volunteers cannot do their work in isolation: "It is important that our communities support the leaders of local organizations, Boy Scouts or otherwise, who exemplify and foster those values."
Carol Cunningham was recognized for her support of education, including the Highlander Booster Club and the Berkeley Heights Education Foundation, for her work with the Westminster Presbyterian Church, and for her role in "Operation Bling," an organization that gives jewelry to cancer patients. She was also a Den Leader and Committee Chair for a UK-based American Cub Scout Pack. Carol again cited her parents as inspiration: "When I was growing up, I saw both of my parents volunteer for the Mountainside Rescue Squad, as Girl Scout and Cub Scout leaders, and as some of the very first GL Highlander Band Parents. I am just following their example."
Dennis Toft was honored for his many contributions to Scouting including Committee Chair for Troop 68 in Berkeley Heights and Cubmaster for Pack 268. Dennis has volunteered for the Patriots Path Council as well as for the Church of the Little Flower, and as a Soccer Coach. He was recently awarded the "Distinguished Eagle Scout Award" for Eagle Scouts who distinguish themselves in their careers and service to others. Dennis' 5 children - all Boy Scouts ( 2 Eagles and a Life Scout) or Girl Scouts (1 Gold and 1 Silver Award) - are already following his example.
The Berkeley Heights Good Scouts Awards served to highlight, in Libby's words: "individuals who have become vital threads in the tapestry of our lives and the lives of others." Inspired by the timeless values of Scouting, these extraordinary individuals have made a real difference in their community, and set an example not only for their children, but for all of us.