MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Mahopac’s Jack Aglietti has had an eye on becoming an Eagle Scout since he joined the scouting program when he was in second grade.
The 18-year-old Lakeland High School senior’s lifelong ambition is now within sight. Aglietti, the son of Philip and Debbie Aglietti, completed the last step in the demanding process required for an Eagle Scout designation by completing his project: building and installing two American flag retirement boxes.
“They are designed to hold American flags that are old and damaged,” he said. “The Scouts will check them and if there are any flags in them my troop will retire them in the proper way.”
Aglietti said that Scouts, as well as members of the armed services, police, and other first responders, are trained in the procedures for properly disposing of worn-out flags.
“I had this idea a while ago and I wish I had done it earlier,” he said. “I was in New England and my uncle had a torn-up flag on his boat and someone said it was disrespectful. He told my uncle to take it to the VFW for disposal. We went there and saw their little container [for the flags]. I liked the idea and thought it would be a good idea for my Eagle Scout project. Now the idea is starting to spread.”
Aglietti placed one of the boxes in the Mahopac Library (“I grew up going to that library,”) and the other in the Lakeland School District administration building.
Aglietti likes that his Eagle Scout project will continue to serve long after he’s left scouting.
“I’ve signed up to be an assistant scoutmaster so I will still be around for a while,” he said. “But when I am gone, the troop will continue to take care of the flags in the boxes.”
Aglietti joined the Cub Scouts as a Wolf while attending Thomas Jefferson School.
“I joined because my best friend was in the troop and he egged me on to do it,” he recalled. “Then, two weeks after I joined he quit. I stuck with it. My parents were afraid I would jump out with him, but I stayed and made new friends.”
He quickly decided at the age of 7 he would one day become an Eagle Scout.
“When I joined as a Wolf, an Eagle Scout came and taught us how to build a fire,” he recalled. “I thought it was so cool and he told us he was an Eagle Scout and I looked up to him. He said not a lot of people are Eagle Scouts but I thought, I’m going to be one.”
Now, a member of Boy Scout Troop 174 Yorktown Heights, Aglietti has a wealth of amazing experiences under his belt that he hopes will help shape his future. One of those was a 14-day trip to New Mexico that he and his troop spent hiking in the mountains during some pretty inclement weather.
“We went to the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N. M. and it rained almost every single day,” he said. “It was really hard. All our clothes were soaked.”
They hiked anyway.
“There was always an ominous feeling that you were about to get attacked by a bear,” he laughed. “It was very unsettling. We didn’t see one, but we did see a rattlesnake on the first day.”
One of his proudest accomplishments was earning the Ad Altare Dei (to the altar of God) medal. The medal is part of a program designed to help Catholic Youth of the Roman Rite develop a fully Christian way of life in the faith community. The program is organized into chapters based on the seven sacraments. The seven sacraments are a primary means toward spiritual growth.
“It was very hard,” Aglietti said. “I was the only one who wanted to do it and was one of the first in my troop to do it. I got to go to New York City and meet Cardinal Dolan, which was very cool.”
Aglietti, who plays varsity ice hockey for the Lakeland/Panas Rebels, is also a member of Skills USA at Northern Westchester/Putnam BOCES, which takes part in the academic competition for various disciplines, such as electrical, plumbing, culinary. Aglietti doesn’t compete; he has an administrative role.
“I am vice president,” he said. “I was voted in, which I was kind of shocked at, but I accepted. So, I have more of a leadership aspect. We do a lot of fundraising for charities and I go to these competitions more as a delegate. We have so many people in my class that are so talented.”
Aglietti, who studies TV production and digital film at BOCES, hopes to major in the same thing in college, though he’s still trying to decide what school to attend.
As long as it’s not in the hills of New Mexico, he should be just fine.