ROXBURY, NJ – It’s a pretty big deal with a young man becomes an Eagle Scout. For Ben Smith of Succasunna, the achievement was also historic:Smith and his father became the first father/son Eagle Scout duo in their troop’s history.
There have been other Roxbury Eagle Scouts whose sons followed in their footsteps, including Don Dyrness, who became an Eagle Scout in Troop 159 back in 1981. His son, Erik, earned Eagle Scout in 2011, but as a member of Succasunna Troop 163, not Troop 159.
The big day for the Smiths came at an Aug. 6 Eagle Court of Honor ceremony. Ben wasn’t alone in being honored that day; he was joined by fellow Troop 159 Scouts Anthony Calabrese and Joshua Heyman, who also became Eagles.
Smith is proud of his son’s achievement. “There’s no other father/son teams in there,” he said. "At the ceremony, my scoutmaster, Stu Bauer, was there to help commemorate the thing.”
Smith, 49, became an Eagle Scout in May 1986. He stayed active in Scouting and is now an assistant scoutmaster for the Troop. “I was the 7th out of the Troop to become an Eagle Scout,” he said. “Ben is the 82nd.”
For his Eagle Service Project, Ben cleaned up an overgrown area where Route 10 East begins, at what used to be the Ledgewood Circle, and built a raised garden bed and installed a “Welcome to Roxbury” sign. To become an Eagle Scout, his father did a similar project, creating a raised garden on westbound Route 10 at the Eyland Avenue intersection, a spot that now is sponsored by the Roxbury Women’s Club.
Heyman’s Eagle Service Project was a Community Health and Safety Fair at the Horseshoe Lake fairgrounds. The event was attended by more than 20 agencies including fire companies, emergency medical services companies, police and hospitals.
Calabrese repaired fencing and a deck in the backyard of a Catholic Charities group home in Parsippany. The home, named The Calabrese House, is named in honor of his late grandfather.
Kyle Smith said Scouting is alive and well in Roxbury and it’s something he still enjoys. “It’s good times,” he said. “There’s a lot of bonding … The boys have to learn to work with each other and with adults, who oversee what’s going on.”
He said Troop 159 has 45 Scouts, about the same number it had when he was a young man.