PHOTO: Middletown Boy Scout Troop 32 honors its Newest Eagle Scouts. From left: Zachary Johnson, Christian DeSanctis, and Jeremy Karew, all from Middletown.

Middletown, New Jersey – While still in grade school, these three young men began their journey to Eagle Scout together as young boy scouts at Boy Scouts of America Troop 32, River Plaza. Over the past seven years, they worked together, learned from each other, and realized what they can accomplish as they earned merit badges, camped throughout the area, and advanced through the organization’s ranks to achieve the highest honor in scouting, Eagle Scout. In October, Troop 32 honored Christian DeSanctis, Zachary Johnson, and Jeremy Karew at an Eagle Court of Honor ceremony at Middletown United Methodist Church, before Troop 32’s leadership, fellow scouts, family, friends, and area dignitaries, including Middletown Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger, Ph.D.

To become an Eagle Scout, which represents the highest levels of citizenship, leadership, and responsibility in Scouting, scouts must earn 21 merit badges: 13 required merit badges and more than eight additional elective merit badges; serve in troop leadership positions for a minimum of 16 months; and spend at least 112 hours on service projects. Collectively, these three Scouts spent more than 285 nights camping, earned more than 78 merit badges, and completed more than 325 different requirements while in Boy Scouts.

“These three young men represent a commitment not only to scouting but to their community,” said Ralph Rasa, Scoutmaster. “They all participated in Eagle projects that contributed to the betterment of Middletown. It is an honor to assist in guiding these Scouts over the years and to see them turn into fine young men and become an asset to our town and our Troop.”

Christian DeSanctis, of the Village section of Middletown, is a freshman at The College of New Jersey, Ewing, majoring in biomedical engineering. He graduated from Middletown High School South this past June. Christian’s Eagle project involved building six Little Free Libraries around the township. After Middletown closed three library branches, Christian raised over $2,000 to build the structures, which resemble small houses on a wooden stand with a protective front, which were installed at Middletown's Town Hall, Senior Center, Lincroft Village Green, Tonya Keller Center, Belford Ferry Station, and Middletown Arts Center. He served in many leadership positions and activities, including Senior Patrol Leader and Den Chief and is a member of the Order of the Arrow, the Boy Scouts’ honor society.

Zachary Johnson, of the Village section of Middletown, is a freshman at The College of New Jersey, majoring in history and teaching. He graduated from Middletown High School South in June. Zachary’s project involved repairing the observation dock at Poricy Park, Middletown. The refurbishment included repairing and replacing wooden planks of the dock, replacing the posts and rope support, and replacing the wooden steps leading down to the landing. Zachary’s leadership positions and activities included Troop Guide and Den Chief, and he attended the National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.

Jeremy Karew, of the River Plaza section of Middletown, is a freshman at Towson University, Towson, Maryland, majoring in mass communications/political science. He graduated from Middletown High School South in June. Jeremy’s Eagle project involved organizing the cleanup and restoration of Middletown United Methodist Church’s Prayer Path. The restoration included the construction of a 75-foot wooden wheelchair-accessible walkway. Additionally, at the end of the path, five benches were refurbished and placed in a semi-circle around a clearing in the woods for those seeking solitude in nature. He also served in several leadership positions and activities in the Troop, including Patrol Leader and Assistant Patrol Leader.

Founded in 1956, the leadership of BSA Troop 32 believes teaching a boy outdoor skills, self reliance, respect for nature, and respect for others, while promoting community service increases his ability to give back to his family, his country, and himself. Troop 32 provides an active outdoor program and reinforces the ideals put forth by the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Troop 32 believes strongly in giving back to the community, which includes conducting food drives for local pantries, participating in civic events, and completing Eagle projects aimed specifically to assist local organizations. For more information about Boy Scout Troop 32, visit our Web site: www.riverplaza32.mytroop.us.