BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – Members of Troop 368, their families, friends and local officials gathered for an Eagle Scout Court of Honor at The Shrine of Saint Joseph in Stirling on July 27. Three members of the troop, John Pullara, Spencer Park and Vasant Bhardwaj, received the Eagle Scout Award during the Court of Honor.
John Pullara, John’s father, and Tim Park, Spencer’s brother, administered the Eagle Scout Challenge and Oath. The Challenge and Oath were witnessed by 14 Eagle Scouts from the audience.
Eagle is the highest rank in Scouting, requiring the honorees to work their way up through the lower ranks, each one requiring leadership, community service, practical skills and a quota of merit badges. Their final project requires candidates to be project managers covering the planning, fundraising, staffing, execution and documentation of a service project to benefit the community. At each rank advancement they must also show that they live their lives to the Scout Oath and Law, which requires them to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
Vasant, Spencer and John all became Scouts on April 24, 2012. The went through the ranks at their own pace, and by 2015 all had achieved the rank of Life Scout. From that point on, they each began working on their Eagle Scout Project.
During his time as a Scout, Vasant served as ASPL-STEM, Librarian, Quartermaster, Patrol Leader, Den Chief Pack, and Patrol Leader. He received the NOA Camping Award in June of 2016, Scout Scholar Athlete, 50-Miler and T-368 Bronze Service Award.
His Eagle project involved the creation of a children’s area in the Free Acres Farmhouse for children 2 – 12, and the creation of seven historical collages describing Free Acres history for the art gallery on the second floor of the farmhouse. The children’s area allows parents to attend meetings more easily. It contains a newly built table and restored antique chairs – with all the work done by Scouts of all ages.
Spencer served as the Den Chief for Pack 368, Chaplain’s Aide, Quartermaster, QM- Sabattis, Webmaster, Instructor, Head Den Chief and Scribe. He earned his Arrow of Light, Casey Murphy Scholarship, NOA Camping, the Bronze and Silver T368 Service awards, and accumulated 159 Service Hours. After there being at least one Park in Troop 368 for the last 10 years, Spencer is the last.
To earn his Eagle Award, Spencer built 12 picnic tables to replace the existing tables at Lower Columbia Field Playground. The tables are an important feature of the Recreation Department’s Summer Playground Camp and are used for crafts, eating, playing games and more. He also built a table specifically for the use of wheelchair-bound people, so they, too, can participate in activities – during camp or other times.
During his years as a Scout, John served as a Den Chief, Patrol Leader, Troop Guide, Instructor and ASPL of Service and had earned his Arrow of Light, Parvuli Dei Religious, 50-Miles and World Conservation awards.
John chose the refurbishment of the fire academy office in the Berkeley Heights Volunteer Fire Department’s firehouse as his Eagle project. He spackled, sanded and painted the walls at the firehouse. Then worked offsite with friends, family and other adults to build enough shelving to fill one of the walls. That took about two weeks to do, then the shelves were taken to the firehouse and installed in the office. There is plenty of space now to hold the books and DVDs used in the fire academy.
Medeiros said he congratulated each of the young men on behalf of the mayor and council for having completed their Eagle Scout requirements. He told the audience that as “a proud parent of an Eagle Scout and former member of the Troop 368 Troop Committee,” it was a real honor for him to be invited to speak.
“For me it is not just about the Scouts and the parents, but also about the community and all of us who value service and achievement.” He quoted historian Howard Zinn who once said about service that “‘Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world.’ These young men represent the possibility of transforming the world and I am deeply proud and thankful to them,” said Medeiros.
Police Chief John DiPasqaule congratulated the three Eagle Scouts on behalf of the Berkeley Heights Police Department, “You have accomplished this great achievement by first setting goals then through your hard work and dedication over many years in Scouting.” A parent of a young Scout in Troop 368 he said he had the “opportunity to see all three of you develop into the strong leaders you are today.”
The chief said he was especially proud to be at the Court of Honor since “Spencer and Vasant were both graduates of the first class of the Berkeley Heights Police Youth Academy in 2012.” The Scout Oath and Law Enforcement Oath of Honor are quite similar and share a similar set of core values, he said and those “values will serve you well throughout your life.”
The three Eagle Scouts will be heading off to college this fall. Vasant will attend Johns Hopkins, Spencer is off to Ithaca College, and John Raritan to Valley Community College.
A reception followed the Court of Honor with cake, cookies and a variety of finger food. Each of the new Eagle Scouts created a display of their years in Scouting featuring photos, badges and awards and more. Parents, fellow Scouts, siblings and friends checked out the books during the reception.
For more information about Boy Scout Troop 368, contact Chris Kolmodin - email@example.com.