photo: Eagle Scout Austin Colbert with NJ Assembly members, Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling.

FREEHOLD – Austin Colbert, a senior at MAST, the Marine Academy of Science and Technology, was honored at an Eagle Court of Honor Sunday, at the Knights of Columbus Hall here, receiving the highest award in Boy Scouting.

Austin, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Colbert, is the Battalion Supply Officer and a lieutenant in the Navy Junior ROTC program at MAST and graduates in June. He is a member of Boy Scout Troop 18 sponsored by St. Rose of Lima parish, Freehold, and attended St. Rose School and Barkalow Middle School before being accepted at MAST.

photo: Eagle Scout Austin Colbert with Cdr. Tracie Smith-Yeoman USN (ret)

As his Eagle Scout project to earn the award, Austin chose to design, construct and install new shelving for the MAST NJROTC uniform supply trailer. He said he chose to assist at MAST because he wanted to be able to give something back to the high school that has taught him discipline, leadership, and a method of learning that he will value throughout life. ‘They are giving me a lot, so I just wanted to give back.”

The scout, who earned 25 merit badges during his time in scouting, said he enlisted the help of approximately a dozen scouts and others to complete the project, finishing the construction and installation in 300 hours. The completed new shelving, used to store the uniforms, weapons, shoes and other supplies of the MAST cadets, includes 12 three-tiered shelving units, spanning 50 liner feet and creating a design that utilizes wall space in a more productive manner.   

photo: Eagle Scout Austin Colbert with Freehold Councilman Jay Simms.

During the ceremony, Austin received commendations and awards from local and state leaders as well as MAST. In presenting the certificate from the high school, CDR Tracie Smith-Yeoman, Senior Naval Instructor for the program, noted that Colbert, and two other scouts, both seniors at Colts Neck High School, who also received Eagle awards at the ceremony, are all NJROTC students and she wondered whether they earned Scouting’s highest award because they are in NJROTC or whether they’re in NJROTC because of their outstanding scout leadership and training.  Austin said he felt he chose the challenges of MAST because he had learned leadership and how to best use his abilities through the scouting program.

The Eagle awardee named his father as his principal mentor throughout scouting, and presented his mother, Joann, with an Eagle Scout Mother’s pin.