ROXBURY, NJ - Roxbury Boy Scout Troop 54 welcomed its 119th and 120th Eagle Scouts with open “wings” on Jan. 13.
James Burke and Michael Hayde, both seniors at Roxbury High School, were awarded the honored title at the United Methodist Church on Main Street in Succasunna after 12 years of dedication to the Boy Scouts of America.
To become an Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout must, among other requirements, earn 21 merit badges; Hayde earned 27 and Burke earned 34.
Another requirement is the completion of a service project to benefit the community. Both Hayde and Burke chose to renovate Kenvil’s VFW Post #833.
“I’ve always wanted to be in the military and I’ve had family members serve,” Hayde said. “I have a great respect for these men and women, and I wanted to give back to them in this way.”
With the help of 15 fellow scouts, family members and friends, Burke installed a 30-foot flagpole and renovated the surrounding area in front of the VFW. More than 200 hours of work and $1,000 were put into completing the project.
For his project, Hayde replaced the ceiling, painted the steps, inserted a railing, painted the walls, placed non-skid strips on the steps and completed an overall update of the stairwell.
“They were working on the project in the summer, in the heat and rain,” said Bob Mederos, VFW Post 2833 member and overseer to Burke and Hayde’s projects. “It was hard work, cutting down that old flag pole and all. It became a challenge on their end and mine. Putting in this hard work to benefit our community shows their wonderful attributes as young men.”
State Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, Morris County Sheriff James Gannon, Roxbury Councilwoman Jaki Albrecht and Roxbury Councilman Dan Kline attended the Eagle Court of Honor. Each spoke, congratulating Burke and Hayde on their accomplishment.
“I am very proud he stuck with this project, through planning, collecting donations, organizing, and dedicating so much time while still keeping up with his school work and additional activities,” said Burke’s father, Peter Burke. “BSA made him a better individual and I hope he continues living under the scout law,” added his mother, Uda Burke.
As a member of Troop 54, Burke has been Patrol Leader, Assistant Patrol Leader, Quartermaster, Librarian, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader and Troop Guide. Burke is involved in the high school band program and his future plans include going to college, earning his MBA and starting a business.
“Earning his Eagle rank was a lot of work, on my part too, but I know it will pay off when he achieves so much in the future,” said Mary Hayde. “Unfortunately, his father isn’t here to see Michael become an Eagle Scout, but he was here when he started in Cub Scouts, and he would be so proud today.”
Michael is involved with the high school’s orchestra and community service clubs, Interact Club and Key Club. He has made the honor roll consistently throughout his high school career. He hopes to study nuclear engineering, possibly join the military and eventually start a troop or join one as a part of adult leadership.
“Today has been such an honor,” Hayde said. “Joining and adapting to live by the oath everyday has changed me as a person and leader.”