CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Three young men from Cedar Grove Boy Scout Troop 65 joined the ranks of Eagle Scouts, in a ceremony held on Feb. 20. Connor Cunniff, Edward DeLora, and Paul Romeo earned the highest award achievable by a Boy Scouts, an accomplishment only six percent of all active scouts attain.

Cunniff and Romeo are both seniors, and DeLora is a junior, all at Cedar Grove High School. All three rose through the ranks from Cub Scouts to Webelos to Scouts in town, beginning in first grade. Eagles must earn 13 required badges, plus at least eight additional badges; take on progressively more responsible leadership positions; be active in numerous community service activities; demonstrate an ability to lead younger scouts; and show proficiency in a number of skill areas including camping, survival, first-aid, and more. 

In addition, an Eagle Scout must perform a major service project. They are responsible for all of the project's planning and fundraising, as well as working with town or organization officials, obtaining materials, performing any physical labor as well as leading other scouts who volunteer to help, and completing the project on schedule.

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For his Eagle project, Cunniff, a parishioner at St. Catherine of Siena, installed a prayer garden on the property of the elementary school, paved with memorial bricks donated by parishioners in honor of loved ones. It is accented by a statue of Saint Francis, butterfly bushes, and a bench to pray and contemplate on. The parish has since held its annual blessing of the animals in the garden on Saint Francis’s feast day.

DeLora's Eagle project was refurbishing and painting five equipment sheds and two player dugouts at fields used by the Cedar Grove Junior Baseball Softball League. He worked with scout members of the troop, as well as family and friends to clean the sheds, replace rotten wood, and paint them to ensure they last the league the maximum amount of time.

Romeo's Eagle project was to refurbish a neglected, overgrown walking path that winds a quartermile through a wooded area from the heart of Morgan Farm to the top of Old Orchard Court. He worked with the township manager's office and the Cedar Grove Historical Society. He and his troop-mates cleared debris and felled trees, created a smooth, widened path which they paved with gravel, and blazed the trail. Many fitness walkers have already been using the path.

The new Eagle Scouts were officially recognized on Feb. 20 in a ceremony attended by scouts, BSA officials, friends and family. Representatives from the Cedar Grove Elks (the Troop's chartering organization), as well as BSA officials from their Northern New Jersey Council, and the Order of the Arrow, and the National Youth Leadership Training.