Five Rockville Centre teens become Eagle Scouts

Jill Nossa for Long Island Herald

December 12, 2019

Originally published in Long Island Herald on December 12, 2019.

It was the culmination of years of service, dedication and hard work for five young Rockville Centre men. The college freshmen each earned the distinction of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor held at St. Agnes Parish Center on Nov. 30. The ceremony was attended by family members and friends, as well as Mayor Francis X. Murray, Sen. Todd Kaminsky and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito. Robert Maina, William Palazzolo, Benjamin Richter, Timothy Bartoldus and Daniel Finning entered Tiger Scouts as first-graders and four of the five — all except Bartoldus — were in the same den. They grew up together and continued on their path to Eagle Scout, the highest rank available in the Boy Scouts of America Scouting program. Only 4 percent of Scouts have earned this distinction since the Eagle Scout inception in 1911, and earning it means undergoing a lengthy review process. Requirements for becoming an Eagle Scout include earning 21 merit badges and creating an extensive service project. Each Scout must plan, organize, lead and manage the project to its completion. Maina, 18, attends Northeastern University and focused his Eagle Scout project on restoring a hiking and biking trail in Bethpage State Park; to do this, he created several watersheds to prevent erosion on the trail. Bartoldus also focused on nature for his project. The 19-year-old student at SUNY Fredonia School of Music designed, built and installed two bat houses at Hempstead Lake Park, enlisting the help of the Troop 163 team. Palazzolo, 18, attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He said his fondest childhood memories are playing gaga ball, which led him to build a gaga ball pit at Rockville Centre Recreation Center for his Eagle Scout project. Richter, 18, attends Hofstra University. For his Eagle Scout project, Richter built a planter and benches in the side yard of a homeless shelter in Roosevelt for the residents to use. Finning, 18, a student at University of Scranton, focused on saving lives for his project. He led the promotional aspect of the annual blood drive at Hewitt Elementary School in 2018. The long-running blood drive is generally well attended, and with his efforts of creating posters and flyers and spreading the word, more donors participated that year. “I thank them for their dedication,” Sen. Todd Kaminsky said, “and for their service to the community.”