BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Boy Scout Troop 68 hosted an Eagle Scout Court of Honor at the Berkeley Heights Fire Department headquarters to honor Kyle Engemann, who received scouting’s highest honor.
The Court of Honor ceremony not only recognized Engemann's accomplishment of obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout, the accomplishments and advancements of all scouts in Troop 68 were also celebrated.
Only one out of 100 Scouts earn the coveted award, according to BSA national headquarters in Dallas, TX. Engemann had to successfully earn a minimum of 21 merit badges, and among other requirements, devise and complete a community service project.
Engemann received the Eagle Scout honor for his hard work in creating an outdoor living space for the Berkeley Heights Fire Department. The project includes 15 cubic yards of gravel, a fire pit, four benches, kindling box and fire wood rack. He transformed a densely wooded overgrown piece of property into a gathering place for the firemen in the community.
Engemann, an incoming senior at Gov. Livingston High School, organized the project that took 178 hours involving over 20 scouts and a handful of adults. The project was funded by donations that reached over $3,000 with a surplus of $250 that was donated to the BHFD.
He presented the check for $250 to Berkeley Heights Fire Department Deputy Chief Jim Hopkins and Fire Department President Adam Uanis. He is grateful to the department for allowing him to transform the wooded area. "The project could not have been completed without your patience and support," said Engemann. He gave special thanks to Taylor Rental and Halls Garden Center for their generosity."I was able to raise money to cover the entire project."
Engemann said he would not be here without the love and support of his parents, grandparents, friends and leaders. He also thanked Scout Masters Terrence Grossman and Cliff Boldt. "Thank you for telling me I can -- and I am so lucky to have such wonderful Scout Masters."
Distinguished guests included Senator Tom Kean, Congressman Leonard Lance, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick and Mayor Bob Woodruff, who each made a presence to recognize the accomplishments of the Boy Scouts and Engemann's dedication.
Congressman Lance said, scouting is alive and well in the United States. "We rely on adult leadership that make scouting possible. -- I have great faith in the future of this country based upon what I have seen from these young men that become Eagle Scouts and similarly, these young women achieving the Gold Award in the Girl Scout movement." He said, the values that we share together this afternoon: freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association -- and all those other freedoms depend ultimately on individual leadership.
Congressman Lance presented Engemann with an American flag that flew over the United States Capital upon his request. He said he hopes that Engemann will fly the flag with much pride. He congratulated the other scouts, Engemann's family and leaders. "It is an individual and singular accomplishment, I look forward to our adult leadership."
Mayor Bob Woodruff told the room that small towns such as Berkeley Heights could not function without volunteerism. "And this is volunteerism," he said of boy scouting. "These young men are learning really early about something other than themselves. Scouting, to me, has always epitomized self sacrifice and discipline. -- These individuals become our volunteers of the future. That is what our towns are about. I am extremely proud of Kyle."
Assemblyman Jon Bramnick said, through his years in legislature, he has learned what it takes to be a leader -- "and it's everything they teach in Eagle scouting. There is no better lesson than generosity, fairness, integrity, thinking of others. -- I can tell you that that is an absolute guarantee to success." He said he attends ceremonies like this because "this is what I think gives hope to America."
Eagle Scout Greg Engemann [Kyle's cousin] talked about Kyle's volunteerism and character. "Nobody will ever know, except for Eagle Scouts, the amount of commitment and dedication that becoming an Eagle Scout takes," said Greg Engemann. "Each merit badge takes an enormous amount of work to achieve. The dedication that goes into just one, let alone 21, to become Eagle -- it's very impressive and congratulations to my cousin."
During the Eagle Scout Advancement Ceremony, Assistant Scout Master Eric Metzer introduced Kyle as an incredible young man that embodies the values of an Eagle Scout --perseverance, discipline, motivation, leadership, accountability and achievement. A man of strong world character. These traits will help him with everything he does in his life," he said.
Scout Master Boldt asked Kyle's parents, Kevin and Karen Engemann, to join Kyle for the Presentation of the Eagle Award. "There is a lot of work that goes into scouting, a lot of long days and nights. This is what makes it all worthwhile," said Boldt. Kyle's parents shared in the honor and pinned the Eagle Rank ribbon on Kyle. Kyle bestowed pins on his parents.
Hal Daume, spoke on behalf of the Berkeley Heights Rotary Club, the sponsor for Troop 68. "You don't become an Eagle Scout by seeing only your picture, you see the whole picture -- it's service above self," said Daume. The Eagle Scout recipient -- if you think of the Scout Law and all 12 points -- recognize by the time a scout becomes an Eagle Scout he has made those words his whole life. These words have become a part of his life."
The celebration concluded with a reception for the crowd of approximately 100 guests.