Press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School

“When I immigrated to this country from Ireland and attained my first job, my Manager was an Eagle Scout,” said Jennifer Gallagher. “I came to greatly admire this man, and I decided that if I were someday blessed with a son I would want him to become an Eagle Scout.”

CLASS-ACT_RUMSON-209x220Gallagher’s wish, which she shared as part of her “Parent’s Remarks” during a recent ceremony, came true as her son Vincent received his Eagle Scout award in front of a crowd including fellow scouts, scout leaders, parents, and distinguished guests.

At the Boy Scout Troop 125 “Court of Honor” held on the evening of December 5 at Christ Church United Methodist in Fair Haven, Robert (Robbie) List was also awarded the Eagle Scout pin.

Shawn Chasmar, Brian Lenahan, William (Billy) Perkins, and Matthew (Matt) Valko also were awarded the rank of Eagle Scout at an Eagle Court of Honor held on August 3 at the Church of the Nativity in Fair Haven.

The six scouts are Rumson-Fair Haven High School students and graduates and are affiliated with Boy Scout Troop 125, which is hosted by Christ Church United Methodist in Fair Haven.

Only about seven percent of all scouts across the nation earned Eagle Scout rank in 2012. And although this number seems low, it actually represents the highest percentage ever recorded.

“I have known all of you for many years, and I somehow knew you would persevere to attain this rank,” said former Troop 125 Scoutmaster Gary Uhl, addressing the Eagle Scouts. “I know that it was tough going at times, but the good news is that you have earned a lifelong honor.”

“The Road to Eagle Scout” is a journey that includes years of dedication to scouting and culminates in the completion of a service project.

The service project is a daunting undertaking that needs to be completed by the candidate’s eighteenth birthday. The project must be approved by a Boy Scout Board of Review and has to provide ample demonstration of a scout’s planning, organizational, and leadership skills.

Shawn Chasmar carried out an Eagle Project that “gave back” to Christ Church United Methodist, where Troop 125 Boy Scout meetings are held weekly. Shawn built and installed four benches in the area in front of the church and around an existing fire pit. By creating a seating area around the fire pit, which was the result of a previous project by a Troop 125 Eagle Scout, Shawn achieved the goal of creating a welcoming space for group meetings of church elders held outdoors.

For his Eagle Project, Brian Lenahan cleaned up and refurbished the parking lot at Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church in Asbury Park. In addition to providing parking during church services, the lot is also used by the Asbury Park Program of Covenant House for ice cream socials and other outreach activities.

Brian continues to be actively involved with Covenant House, which is the largest privately-funded agency in New Jersey providing food, shelter, immediate crisis care, and an array of other important services to homeless and at-risk youth between the ages of 18 and 21.

Location was a large part of the deciding factor when Brian was choosing his project. “The parking lot, located on the West Side of Asbury Park, is highly visible,” he said. “I hoped to achieve not only a physical improvement for the church, but a psychological ‘shot in the arm’ for the neighborhood as well.”

Like Shawn, Billy Perkins also “gave back” to troop host United Methodist by dedicating his resources to enhancing the area surrounding the church. For his project, Billy designed a meditative space in a garden on the church property, and led a group of volunteers to construct a gravel path leading to the area.

Matt Valko’s Eagle Scout Project was the creation of a Nativity Prayer Garden at the Church of the Nativity in Fair Haven. The project, which was completed over the course of thirteen weeks, provides parishioners with a quiet place to pray and reflect while enjoying the beauty of nature.

Vincent Gallagher lent a helping hand at the nursery located in Fair Haven fields, where tree saplings are nurtured before being transplanted to other areas of the park and to nearby recreational areas. Super-Storm Sandy had left the nursery in disarray, with scattered branches and overgrown weeds hampering its function.

Vincent’s project involved clearing all debris, and then weeding the area and creating rows of planting beds. Approximately 300 tree saplings were planted, mulched and watered, replenishing the nursery with much-needed stock.

Robbie List constructed and installed bat boxes around Fair Haven Fields to help maintain a healthy ecosystem. Homes are often in short supply for bats, who contribute to the local environment by ingesting large amounts of harmful insects.

During the Court of Honor ceremony, Robbie also received a Bronze Palm Award. The Bronze Palm is given to Eagle Scouts who earn five or more merit badges in addition to the 21 that are required for Eagle Scout. Robbie earned 27 merit badges, which are awarded for completing requirements in areas including sports, crafts, sciences, business, and future careers.

“Each scout travels his own path to achieve the Eagle Scout award,” said Robert List Sr., Scoutmaster of Troop 125. “All are impressive young men with a great future ahead of them.”

Shawn Chasmar, Vincent Gallagher, and Brian Lenahan are 2013 graduates of RFH.

Shawn currently attends the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, where he is majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is the son of Geri and Michael Chasmar of Fair Haven.

Vincent, who is taking business and culinary courses at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, is a part-time chef at Alice’s Restaurant in Sea Bright. He is the son of Jennifer and Vincent Gallagher of Fair Haven.

Brian, who intends to pursue a career in the medical profession in order to continue giving back to the community, plans to attend Catholic University in Washington, D.C. and major in Biology. He is son of Karen Ann and Shawn Lenahan of Fair Haven.

Billy Perkins and Matt Valko are seniors at RFH.

Billy is Captain of the RFH Sailing Team, which recently competed in this year’s Atlantic Coast Championship. He is an avid skier and placed second in the Eastern Regional Championship last season. Billy, who looks forward to attending college in New England next fall, is the son of Debbie and Bill Perkins of Fair Haven.

Matt swam on the RFH Varsity Swim Team as a freshman. He is in his fourth year of participation on RFH crew, a local independent rowing program, and was elected Captain this year. A Cross-Fit athlete, Matt participated in his first Spartan Race this year. He is the son of Madelyne and Peter Valko of Fair Haven.

Robbie List, a junior at RFH, is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and a member of the Boy’s Track and Field Team. An acolyte at St. George’s by the River in Rumson, he is the son of Carol and Robert List Sr. of Fair Haven.