Tag Archives: Eagle Scout

Douglaston Eagle Scout prospect collects donations for St. Alban’s Veterans Hospital


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

This scout has honor.

Douglaston teen Michael Tuffey is collecting personal care items for the Veterans Affairs Community Living Center at St. Alban’s to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank for members of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

Tuffey, a Life Scout in Troop 153 with 31 badges, has already collected hundreds of personal products, including body wash, shaving cream, deodorant and shampoo, for the nearly 140 male veterans living at the home. He plans to continue the drive until June 20.

“Sometimes for projects it’s refurbishing a park or a playground or a community center,” Tuffey said. “But I wanted to give back to people. I thought this was a really worthy cause because these guys have obviously done a lot and they definitely deserve to have something given back to them.”

Tuffey, 16, is a junior at Xavier High School in Manhattan and is a member of the track team and the school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC). He was inspired to help the veterans because of his affiliation with the reserve training group. He initially approached the hospital to ask for their needs and received a list of personal care items.

To collect the donations, Tuffey set up two drop-off stations, one at Douglaston French Cleaners on Northern Boulevard at Douglaston Parkway, and another at HOME NY Real Estate at 40-60 Douglaston Parkway. He has also contacted and received donations from various organizations, including local churches, and handed out flyers on Memorial Day to spread the word about his campaign.

The project is the final step for Tuffey, who has been with the BSA since the Cub Scout level in second grade, to complete his longtime dream to become an Eagle Scout.

“It would mean a lot,” he said of the honor. “It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work and a lot of years of being involved.”

Anyone willing to donate can drop off items at the stations in Douglaston or contact Tuffey at mtuffeyeaglescoutproject@aol.com.

 

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Hollis teen earns his wings as Eagle Scout


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo by Carrie Johnson

It took seven years and an endless amount of determination, but Keyonne Zaire Session is now an Eagle Scout.

The 18-year-old from Hollis earned the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America and was recognized in a National Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony on August 17 in Glen Cove, Long Island.

“It’s probably one of the most prestigious awards I’ve ever received in my life,” he said. “I feel like I’m added into a selective group of individuals.”

To gain the coveted title, a scout must earn 21 merit badges as well as organize, lead and complete an extensive service project.

Session — a member of the St. Alban the Martyr Episcopal Church, Troop 267 — created a memorial garden to honor Brian James Hom, a classmate and friend, who died two years ago in a car crash.

The garden is meant for anybody who has lost a loved one to come and reflect, he said.

Session was also the first recipient of the Brian James Hom Scholarship Award, which honors students who lives by Brian’s motto of “I am the me I choose to be.”

“I do it because I love the feeling that other people get when they realize other people are helping them. That feeling, the happiness they experience, it gives me such a fulfillment in my life,” said Session, the troop’s fifth Eagle Scout.

His mother, Nicolle, said she admires her son’s proactive nature and passion for equality.

“I’m very proud of what he’s done,” she said. “He’s always sticking up for the right thing. When you hear these different things from people, it makes you say as a mother, ‘I’ve done my job. I’ve done the job I set out to do.’”

Session graduated this year from Friends Academy, where he played on the varsity football team, performed in his school’s winter plays and served as treasurer for the Diversity Club.

He will be attending Wesleyan University in Connecticut this fall and studying psychology.

He said he hopes other youngsters will choose to become a Boy Scout.

“It’s extremely worth it,” Session said. “It’s taught me life lessons, like how to be a good person and role model, and the people I’ve met have been phenomenal.”

 

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Scout gives back to Flushing


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

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Eagle Scout candidate Justin Lieu is on the verge of earning his wings, with seven years of Boy Scout training and the required 21 merit badges under his belt. He just needs to turn in the paperwork.

Lieu, a Francis Lewis High School senior, used his years in the Scouts to improve his neighborhood.

“The position has definitely taught me a lot about helping and caring for others,” said Lieu.

On Saturday November, 12 and Sunday November, 13, 2011, Lieu initiated a project to clean up the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground, also known as Martin’s Field – an idea sparked by his uncle and Scoutmaster, Evergreen Chou.

At first, Lieu was hesitant about the project. Upon researching the history of the site, he discovered the importance of preserving such a significant piece of land, and decided it would be a great way to give back to the community.

“Cleaning up the burial ground made me feel a sense of accomplishment in the fact I was able to help out my Queens community and especially help out a site which has a lot of history to it,” said Lieu.

In coordination with the Parks Department, Lieu snipped weeds, pruned foliage and cleared walking paths. He removed invasive species of plants hindering the growth of others and placed mulch where it was needed.

“I believe that it is important for young people to help out in their communities because this is how a community survives and grows,” said Lieu. “By helping out and giving back, a community can do more for its residents. More people would [be inspired to] go out and volunteer to ‘give back.’”

The 17-year-old feels one of his biggest responsibilities are continuing the legacy of the Scouts, nurturing younger members and keeping the traditions alive.

“I have learned so much in Scouting,” said Lieu. “It is only right that I help out newer Scouts and teach them what I have learned to keep Scouting alive and strong.”

When he takes a break from Scouting and school, Lieu enjoys being active – playing handball and weight training. He also has a love of photography.

Lieu plans to submit his Eagle Scout paperwork by the end of February, following which he will need to receive permission from the Eagle Board of Review, a group set up by the Scoutmaster and Scout Leaders from the district.

Lieu looks forward to continuing to give back to his community, mentioning that he already has another project in the works, to be completed in April.

A lending ear — and eyes — for the needy


| jlane@queenscourier.com

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The need to help others seems to run in the Caiazza family.

Four months ago, Matthew Caiazza rounded up the community to help him send care packages to U.S. Marines serving in Afghanistan.

Now, twin brother Thomas, a life scout from Boy Scout Troop 139 in Howard Beach, is heading up his own plan to bring sight and sound to the less fortunate.

As part of his Eagle Scout Project, Caiazza’s goal is to collect and donate as many new and used eyeglasses and hearing aids as he can. So far, the 15-year-old has collected more than 75 items since his project began over the summer.

“I’m hoping to get a whole lot more, but it’s a big step to already have so many pairs,” Caiazza said. “I already know that these pairs are going to people who need them. Even if I got one, I would have been happy. That’s just another person out there who can hear and see now.”

To get the ball rolling, Caiazza teamed up with the Lions Club, an international volunteer service organization. Through the Lions Recycle for Sight program, donated eyeglasses and hearing aids are cleaned, sorted by prescription strength, packaged and sent to the needy in developing countries.

The idea stemmed from personal habits of his own family members.

“Everyone in my family wears glasses. When they get new pairs, they sort of just leave the old ones lying there,” Caiazza said. “I asked myself, ‘What could I do with everybody’s glasses that they’re not using anymore?’ I figured people around the world could use them.”

So far, Caiazza has spent several hours collecting at two local senior centers. He has also left donation boxes around the community.

The Caiazza parents couldn’t be more proud.

“He’s always looking to help people in need and this is very thoughtful and efficient,” said father Oscar. “He decided to do something helpful for the community and he’s been very aggressive in following up and looking for places to collect.”

On the success of both twins, mother Barbara said: “I’m really proud. They were able to accomplish all this at the age of 15.”

Thomas plans on collecting for a few more months before sending in his final set to the Lions Club. He will hold a collection at St. Helen’s Church on Sunday, October 16.

“It feels like a big step of maturity for me,” he said.