SOUTH PLAINFIELD - An Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony was held for South Plainfield High School Senior Douglas Veit on March 10th at Wesley Methodist Church as he officially became the 46th Boy Scout to join the ranks of Eagle Scout in Troop 309.
“It’s an honor to be an Eagle Scout,” said Veit. “It’s something that all Boy Scouts should strive for in the long run.”
The church hall was decorated in red, white and blue, reflecting the great accomplishment of a young man who has dedicated years of commitment to the Boy Scouts. Friends, family and the members Troop 309 filled the hall.
“Today is a very special occasion as we have the pleasure of seeing Douglas Veit climax in his scouting efforts when he joins the company of Eagle Scouts,” said 309 Troop Leader Jeff Pauls as he opened the ceremony.
After Cub Scouts, Veit began in Boy Scouts with the rank of Scout in 2010. Veit worked his way up through the ranks from Scout to Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, and to Life Scout in 2015. Throughout his Boy Scout career, Veit has held positions of Arrow of Light, Quartermaster, Assistant Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Librarian, and Scout of the Year 2013 and 2014. In all, Veit earned 32 merit badges on his way to Eagle, which is eleven more badges then required for the honored rank.
“We are very proud of Doug and his accomplishments,” said Rich Veit, Assistant Troop Master and Douglas Veit’s father. “We are also thankful for the outstanding leaders of Troop 309, especially Jeff Pauls and Nancy Pauls, whose hard work has made this troop such an important part of our community and positively touched the lives of so many young men.”
Veit’s accomplishments are not limited to the Boy Scouts. He has been a trumpeter in the South Plainfield Marching Band and a member of the Summer Drama Workshop throughout high school. Veit spends his summers working at Camp Watchung teaching Cub Scouts the basics of scouting and he is looking forward to attending Monmouth University next year.
The ceremony continued as several Scout Leaders recounted how Veit’s Boy Scout career unfolded.
“When I first met Doug, he was this little shy boy and I was the Assistant Cub Scout Leader with Jeff Pauls,” said Assistant Troop Leader Scott Waters. “I saw Doug grow from there to Boy Scouts, to even Marching Band. Doug is the kind of kid who is a leader. When he took his Senior Patrol position, he lived by example. He didn’t yell and scream at the kids, he did what was necessary and never complained. Congratulations, Doug, well deserved!”
Honorary Scout of Troop 309, Mayor Matthew Anesh, attended the event presenting Veit with a proclamation recognizing his great feat. Councilman Robert Bengivenga, Councilwoman Christine Faustini, Councilman Derryck White, and Councilman Joseph Wolak also attended the event.
“What does Eagle Scout mean to people?” said Anesh as he addressed the audience. “First letter ‘E,’ Energy. We all know Douglas displays an amazing amount of energy from his schoolwork, to his extracurricular activities, to the Boy Scouts. ‘A,’ Advancement through the seven ranks and 21 merit badges. ‘G,’ Gold, an Eagle Scout is gold. They see a challenge and take the necessary steps to prepare to meet the challenge. ‘L,’ Life, the accomplishment of attaining the rank of Eagle Scout is going to have lifelong benefits. That brings us to the last letter, ‘E,’ Execution. Everything we’ve talked about is useless without execution.”
One of the final requirements to become an Eagle Scout is the Eagle Scout Project. Scouts striving for the rank of Eagle must choose a large scale service project that demonstrates leadership skills as well as the ability to plan and develop.
For his Eagle Scout Project, Veit chose to clear and restore the land that once was David Felt’s home, a man who build a small mill community in 1845 located in the historic village of Feltville/Deserted Village in Watchung Reservation.
“We marked the site with posts and fenced it off so that future visitors to the project can see where the house once stood,” noted Veit. “I would like to thank all of the family, friends, and Scouts who helped with the project.”
The project took 182 man hours and 22 scouts, along with seven adult leaders. It was completed in March 2017.
At the pinnacle of the ceremony, Pauls presented Veit with the Eagle Scout award and Eagle Scout pins. It is a Boy Scout tradition that as a scout achieves a rank, they receive a pin to place on their mother’s lapel. With the rank of Eagle Scout, the scout’s mother gives an Eagle Scout Pin to her son. With that, Terri Veit placed the pin on her son’s chest beside his numerous merit badges and awards. Veit then presented his mother and father with Eagle Scout pins.
“Doug, in recognition and guidance given to you by your father, you will present this pin to your father, which he will now be proud to wear in your honor,” said Pauls. “Place your mother’s pin over your mother’s heart in recognition of her love, encouragement, faith and trust in your future. As an Eagle Scout, may you never disappoint her. Doug, congratulations on making Eagle Scout.”
Veit was then given the opportunity to present an Eagle Mentor Pin to someone he feels has made an impact in his life and journey to Eagle Scout. The recipient is not made aware of this award ahead of time.
“I would like to give the mentor pin to the man I feel had the most effect on my life, my dad,” said Veit as he pinned the mentorship pin onto his father’s chest.
The ceremony continued as letters were read from Chief Scout Executive from the Boy Scouts of America as well as a Letter from the Council President of Patriots Path Council. Veit was also given additional awards for the merit badges he received beyond the Eagle Scout requirements.
“Scouts earn gold, bronze and silver palms for every five merit badges that they earn beyond the required badges needed for Eagle Scout,” said Pauls. “With that, I have one bronze and one gold palm to present to Doug. That amounts to ten additional merit badges that Doug earned above the Eagle requirements. Congratulations, Doug.”
On behalf of the Borough of South Plainfield, White presented Veit with the municipal pin.
“I want to let you know that we appreciate you allowing us to be here and represent the community at large,” said White. “Wherever you go, whatever you do, you have a community that stands behind you and takes pride in all that you do. You now carry the mantle of South Plainfield as well as the mantle of the scouts.”
Veit was also given an Eagle Citation by Tony Sarino from Flint and Steel Organization.
“I’ve done this so many times, but it’s always a pleasure,” said Sarino. “The Flint and Steel organization started in 1923, when four men in Plainfield decided to start an organization that would support the youth of the community. It always gives me great pleasure to give this to the new Eagle Scout. Doug, it’s a pleasure to see you get it.”
The South Plainfield Elks Lodge 2298 presented Veit with the Elks Scouting Pin and a certificate of recognition.
“Douglas, Congratulations!” said Sharon Reuter, Elks member and Youth Activities Committee leader. “I have to say, I grew up in Union County and I spent many many hours hiking the reservations of Watching. I think your project is just wonderful.”
Reuter went on to read a letter from Elks Grand Exalted Ruler, Malcolm McPherson, Jr, congratulating Veit for his great accomplishment. Gina McConville read a letter from Governor Christie. Tim McConville read a letter from Union County Parks Department of Recreation commending Veit for his service project.
Eagle Scout and Former Scoutmaster, Ronald Schroeder spoke on behalf of all Eagle Scouts of Troop 309 just before the presentation of the Eagle Scout Patch.
“I’m thrilled to be here,” said Schroeder. “I want to tell the folks here who are not part of the scouting organization that there is a miraculous transformation from when a scout first comes, to this point of Eagle Scout. When he comes, he loves burning marshmallows and playing with fire, and he becomes a man who is skilled in the outdoors. He starts off as a boy struggling to learn the words of the scout oath and law, and becomes a man who has internalized what it means to be a scout and the ideals of scouting. He starts off as a boy who has to be taught, led and mentored, and he becomes a young man who is a leader, who people will follow. This is what happens here.”
After Schroeder read the names of all 45 Eagle Scouts, Eagle Scout Troy Harzula presented Veit with the Eagle Scout Patch. It is the tradition of Troop 309 that the last Scout to attain Eagle pass down the patch and present it to the newest Eagle Scout.
The ceremony concluded with a Benediction from Rev. Dr. Julius Adekunle from First Baptist Church of Long Branch. Dinner and cake followed. The young scouts of Troop 309 celebrated with their peers. They had experienced firsthand how their hard work and dedication can bring them to achieve such an honor someday as the rank of Eagle Scout is not just a badge, but is a way of life.