SOMERS, N.Y.--With help from his troop and family, 15-year-old Boy Scout Dominic Veltri of Somers Troop 376 was able to complete a project he’s had on his mind since childhood.
As a Scout, Veltri has attended Somers’ Veterans and Memorial Day parades for almost as long as he can remember.
Many ceremonies take place in Ivandell Cemetery, off Route 202. Veltri said he noticed veterans were seated on folding chairs during most ceremonies, and he felt the veterans deserved more respect.
“I’ve been to every veterans’ parade since I was young and I always thought they needed somewhere to sit and somewhere to commemorate them for our nation.”
So when it came time to engage in his Eagle Scout project, the rising sophomore at Somers High School undertook one that would help fill that void.
After a weekend of hard labor in the middle of July, he provided the veterans with two new benches and a plaque.
Armed with Item 4 gravel, leveling sand, paving boards and polymeric sand, about 10 Boy Scouts and their family members created a 12-by-5-foot- foundation and installed two concrete curved benches along with a plaque. The benches can comfortably seat four, Veltri said.
The benches are situated right next to the World War II-era 75 mm Howitzer cannon at Ivandell Cemetery, which had been spruced up by another Eagle Scout candidate three years ago. Veltri said he hopes veterans can enjoy having a spot of their own that shows them the respect he and others have for them.
“Without veterans, we wouldn’t be the free country that we are,” he said.
The ambitious student did not want to experience any anxiety over the project, so he chose to complete it earlier during his high school career than most other Eagle Scout candidates who tend to complete the projects in their junior or senior years.
In addition to Scouting, Veltri plays lacrosse, the saxophone in the school band and works as a lifeguard at Heritage Hills. He plans to study computer programming.
With the project completed, he is well on his way to earning his Eagle Scout status, having demonstrated leadership skills and working to benefit the community. Veltri said he enjoyed the process of leading the other Scouts through the project using the E.D.G.E. method, an acronym employed by the Scouts which stands for “Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable.”
“The biggest part of being an Eagle Scout is reaching out to those around you to help you,” he said. “As they help you, you can reciprocate that when they go for their Eagle Scout project you and help them.”
A ceremony is expected to be held to formally unveil the benches, Veltri said.