Five Reading Memorial High School seniors -- Jón Ásgeirsson, Rob Ciaccio, Dan Staffier, Nathan Strack, and Nathan Terry, and 2013 RMHS graduate Jimmy Houston were recognized with the Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank, Eagle Scout, on Sunday, January 5 at Wood End Elementary School. More than 200 friends, family members, and dignitaries attended the event.
All six Eagle Scouts are affiliated with Troop 728, which is sponsored by St. Agnes Church. To advance to the rank of Eagle Scout, each boy mastered various outdoor, first aid, and leadership skills and then provided leadership on a significant service project. Less than four percent of boys who enter the Boy Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, so to recognize six at one Court of Honor is almost unheard of.
The following are summaries describing each Scout’s road to the Eagle Court of Honor.
The Eagle Scout Award
The Eagle Scout Award is the highest rank in Scouting. It represents the Scout’s commitment to citizenship, leadership, service, physical fitness, and outdoorsmanship.
Dan, Nathan, Jimmy, Jón, Nathan and Rob accepted the challenge and set their ideals and goals in the spirit of the Boy Scouts of America. Their quest led them on a trail that has been discouraging and inspiring, arduous work and great fun. They have lived and served according to the Scout Oath and Law, and each has rendered significant service to the community. In successfully meeting the challenge, each Eagle Scout we honor today has grown in stature, character, and maturity, and each has gained the respect and honor of all.
“Eagles do not Flock;
One by One”
Dan’s Road to Eagle
Dan began his scouting experience in first grade following in the footsteps of his older brother Nicholas in 2002. Along with his good friends Jón and Jarrod, he spent his years at Barrows Elementary school as a member of Cub Scout Pack 733. He enjoyed camping trips in the Town Forest and Harold Parker State Forest and participating in events including the Pinewood Derby, the Cub Scout Olympics, the mile swim at the YMCA, and sleeping on the USS Massachusetts. In the spring of 2007, Dan earned his Arrow of Light Award and crossed over into Troop 728, beginning his life as a Boy Scout.
In Dan’s first few years as a Scout, he worked his way through the ranks, learning all about camping, cooking, teamwork, and personal betterment. He earned his Star Rank in September of 2009 and his Life Rank in September of 2011. Dan has had many memorable experiences as a Scout, including attending Summer Camp at T. L. Storer Scout Reservation for seven consecutive summers, where he loved earning merit badges and constructing massive fires. He enjoyed hiking trips to Lonesome Lake, Zealand Falls, and Mount Chocorua, as well as camping trips to the Reading Town Forest, Fort Ticonderoga, Block Island, Lovell’s Island, Nickerson State Park, Cooperstown, and OKPIK. He also enjoyed backwards canoeing with Sam Rodda on the Ipswich River day trip, ziplining in the White Mountains, volunteering on Thanksgiving at the Chelsea Soldiers Home, and going on various Cosmic Hippo Patrol trips. Dan is also a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow and a graduate of National Youth Leadership Training, Merit Badge University and Merit Badge Institute. Dan has held the following positions of leadership in the Troop: Patrol Leader, Assistant Patrol Leader, Librarian, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster.
For his Eagle Scout Service Project, Dan led a group of volunteers in the refurbishment and improvement of the Linnaea Thelin Bird Sanctuary Conservation Grounds. In the fall of 2012, Dan, his project coach Mr. Grizzell, and his volunteers spent more than 250 service hours planning, organizing and orchestrating his Eagle Project. Planning for his project included meeting with the Reading conservation commission, the BSA Minuteman Council Eagle Project Coordinator, and Troop adult leaders. His project consisted of clearing the sanctuary entrance, building a new staircase, creating a water diversion trench, clearing out a long-forgotten trail, and opening up three observation points. He raised funds through a Fuddrucker’s Fundraiser with the troop, and completed his project in December of 2012. On July 18th, 2013 Dan successfully passed his Eagle Scout Board of Review and officially earned his Eagle Scout Rank. In addition to his Rank of Eagle Scout, Dan also earned his Bronze Eagle Palm on December 1, 2013 and became an Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 728 on Dec 6th 2013.
Beyond Scouting, Dan is currently a senior at Reading Memorial High School and will be graduating in June of 2014. At RMHS, Dan is a member of the National Honor Society, Envirothon team and Leo Club. After High School, Dan plans to attend college and major in Business Management. Dan has submitted his college applications and is awaiting their decisions.
Nathan Strack’s Road to Eagle
Nathan began his Scouting experience in third grade as a Bear Scout in Cub Pack 735 sponsored by Saint Athanasius Church. Memorable activities included building cars for multiple Pinewood Derbies, attending a Lowell Spinners game, watching the Pawtucket Red Sox play and then sleeping in the outfield at McCoy Stadium. Attending the Great North Woods Challenge at TL Storer in October 2006 provided an introduction to the fun that was ahead in Boy Scouts. In the Spring of 2007, Nathan earned his Arrow of Light Award, crossed over into Troop 728 and began his life as a Boy Scout.
Nathan attended camp that summer at TL Storer earning Sculpture Merit Badge, completing the Polar Bear Swim Challenge and the Trailblazer Program. In those first few years, he rose through the ranks and participated in many great activities including trips to the Reading Town Forest, Mount Chocorua, Block Island, West Point and the Lonesome Lake, Zealand Falls and Carter Notch AMC Huts. Outdoor winter skills were honed at the Weeklong Winter Camp at Camp Hines in Raymond, Maine. He held various leadership positions in the Troop including Troop Guide, TLC Scribe, Troop Webmaster and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader.
In 2010, Nathan attended the Boston Minuteman Council National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) Program at Storer. Other participants that year and the next included other Eagle Scouts being recognized today; Dan, Rob, Jón and Nathan Terry. In 2011, Nathan served as a NYLT Youth Staff member and in 2012 he again served as a Youth Staff member after joining Jón and Jacob Westerman in representing the Council at the National Leadership Academy in Virginia.
For his Eagle Scout Service Project, Nathan tackled a longstanding drainage problem that allowed basement flooding at his church, the Church of the Good Shepherd, during heavy rain. He raised two concrete window wells and regraded the adjacent area to divert water runoff. A gutter was also repitched and connected into a new drywell. Fundraising efforts proved successful as many parishioners stepped forward to fully underwrite the project. Results have been stellar so far as the basement has not flooded since the project was started. In August 2013, Nathan successfully passed his Eagle Board of Review.
Beyond Scouting, Nathan is currently a senior at Reading Memorial High School and will be graduating in June of 2014. At RMHS, he has been a member of the Marching, Stage and Jazz Band, the Robotics Team, Model United Nations and the Drama Club. During their Junior Year, Nathan, Jón and Dan teamed up for the National History Day project; they were awarded an Honorable Mention in the Regional Competition. After High School, Nathan plans to attend College and will likely study either Electrical or Computer Engineering. He has applied to multiple colleges and is awaiting their decisions.
Jimmy’s Road to Eagle
Jimmy joined Pack 718 in 2001 while at the Joshua Eaton Elementary Shool. He advanced through the Cub Scout ranks with a core group of friends beginning with Tiger up through Bobcat, Bear, Wolf, and finally Webelo. Jimmy and his Dad have fond memories of the hours spent building and racing his Pinewood Derby car every January. As a fifth grader, Jimmy earned his Arrow Light and crossed over to become a Boy Scout as part of Troop 728.
Some of Jimmy’s most memorable trips as a Boy Scout were zip lining at ZOAR, skiing at Sunday River and Waterville Valley, canoeing 50 miles, hiking up Mount Chocorua, visiting West Point and camping at T.L. Storer every summer. Jimmy enjoyed the camaraderie and friendships made on these amazing adventures. His favorite merit badges were Climbing, Rifle Shooting and Horsemanship which he earned while at Camp T.L. Storer.
Jimmy remained active in Scouting and explored other areas of interest during high school. He played trumpet in the Reading Memorial High School Marching and Concert Band, performing in Walt Disney World in April 2013. He was a member of the Wrestling Team, Stage Band, Drama and the Right Club. Jimmy served as the Youth Liaison to the Town of Reading Board of Selectmen. This appointment came about as a result of meeting with members of Town Government while working on requirements for the Citizenship merit badge. Jimmy held a number of leadership positions in the Troop including Bugler, Patrol Leader, Troop Guide and Instructor.
Jimmy’s Eagle Project involved inspecting homes in Reading for compliance with Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 148 which requires house numbers to be visible from the street. With the help of his mentor, his Scoutmaster and many of the Adult Leaders from Troop 728, Jimmy’s Eagle Project was approved and he completed his Eagle required merit badges. Jimmy worked with Fire Chief Burns and Lieutenant Jackson and led a group of volunteers through Reading neighborhoods to identify residences in violation of this law. Each home that was not in compliance was issued a temporary house number accompanied by a letter from Fire Chief Burns explaining why and how to take corrective action. Jimmy’s Eagle project ensures the safety of the Reading residents in violation of this law and benefits Emergency Responders, our local Postal Carriers and Delivery services. Jimmy submitted his Eagle Scout Rank application to the Boston Minuteman Council on August 1, 2013 and on September 9, 2013 he successfully completed his Board of Review.
Jimmy has completed his 1st semester as a Computer Science major at the Wentworth Institute of Technology. His confidence, discipline and leadership can be attributed to his involvement in scouting. Jimmy is honored to be an Eagle Scout and grateful to be able to celebrate his achievement with Troop 718, his family and all who participated in his Eagle Project and supported him along this journey to Eagle.
Jón’s Road to Eagle
Jón’s journey to Eagle started when he joined Pack 733 in first grade at Barrows. Some of his early memories of being a Cub Scout were making Pinewood Derby cars, tenting with Dan and Jarrod in the town forest, taking a 30 mile bike trip on Martha’s Vineyard at “Camp Get-a-Tick,” and having Mrs. Talluto as his den mother. His growth and love of scouting continued when he crossed over to Troop 728 and started to earn ranks and merit badges. Favorite memories of scouting included summer camp at T.L. Storer, Beaver Weekend, Klondike Derby, OKPIK, Zealand Falls. Lonesome Lake. ZOAR White water trip and West Point Camporees. He remembers being lost with Mr. Staffier and others, wandering around on Lonesome Lake within sight of the cabin-on Mr. Staffier’s birthday. The first summer at T.L. Storer, he remembers the tornado warning, evacuating King Philip site and leaving Jarrod asleep in the tent.
Jón has learned much about service and leadership from some of the most dedicated and fun-loving Scout Masters and Assistant Scout Masters. Jón served Troop 728 as Bugler, Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, and Senior Patrol Leader. Jón attended National Youth Leadership Training, NYLT Academy in Virginia, and subsequently taught at NYLT at T.L. Storer. He was nominated for Order of the Arrow and attained brotherhood status.
Jón’s Eagle Scout Project, replacing the existing chain link fence with granite columns and framing the entrance to his church parking lot with two large stone pillars, each weighing approximately 3,000 pounds, was a great success. Mr. Thomas Baillie and Bond Brothers provided extremely valuable support with their donations and assistance to his project. The backhoe provided allowed the 3,000 pound pillars to be moved more safely and with greater speed than Scout Volunteers could have achieved through muscle power alone. Mr. Jim Strack was Jón’s mentor on his project. Jón is very grateful to him for all the hours they spent together planning and working on this project. Mr. Strack is a true example of mentoring at its finest.
Jón is currently a senior at Reading Memorial High School where he is Drum Major and President of the Marching Band and is a programmer for the RMHS “Robockets” FIRST Robotics team. He will be going to college next year ... somewhere... to study computer science. But for now, he is grateful for his many years as a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and now, an Eagle Scout.
Nathan Terry’s Road to Eagle
Nathan Terry was destined to be a Scout. A good friend, knowing that his father had been a Scout, made a tiny Cub Scout uniform for Nathan when he was just three months old. Nathan joined pack 718 as a Tiger Cub in 2002 with several of his friends from Joshua Eaton School. During his Cub years, Nathan participated in the Pinewood Derby, Rocket Derby, and candy sales. Camping was new to him. Nathan especially enjoyed trips to the Town Forest and Nickerson State Park on Cape Cod. Probably the Most memorable Cub Scout camping trip was a rain-filled weekend at Nickerson where it stopped just long enough for a bike ride and an ice cream stop before raining again until we broke camp on Sunday morning. Believe it or not, everyone had a great time. Other trips included Battleship Cove, Ecotarium, and Higgins Armory. By the end of fifth grade, and having earned the Arrow of Light, Nathan was ready to move up to Boy Scouts.
In the spring of 2007, Nathan crossed over to Boy Scouts and Troop 728. He went to Camp T.L. Storer that first summer as a Tenderfoot Scout, and his tentmate was Rob Ciaccio. Camp T.L. Storer was hit with thunder, lightning, and rain the first few nights, but good adult and scout leadership and preparation meant that he and the other scouts still had a great time. Nathan completed the Trailblazer Program and earned his first merit badge: Sculpture. His first real camping trip/backpacking hike was a fall of 2007 trip to Zealand Falls AMC hut. Hiking in the falling snow with a full pack was far more challenging than Cub Scout car camping, and more fun. Other trips including the mini-Klondike and Klondike Derbies, Town Forest, and Lonesome Lake AMC Hut followed. Rank advancement and more merit badges followed. One of Nathan’s favorite Scout activities has been helping to serve Thanksgiving Dinner at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home.
Nathan has served Troop 718 as an Assistant Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, and Troop Guide. He has enjoyed working with the younger scouts on their advancements. Nathan attended National Youth Leadership Training in 2010.
Nathan’s Eagle Scout Project was to build and install bat houses at Symonds Park in Reading. He had played baseball and soccer there, and the mosquitoes were terrible since the park is surrounded by swampy ground. Scott Kurtzer was instrumental in the design and building of the bat houses, and several scouts and adults helped with the final assembly, staining, and erecting of the bat houses on sixteen foot posts along the third base line of the field.
Nathan is a three sport athlete at Reading Memorial High School. He is the starting goalie on the varsity soccer team, runs middle distances on the varsity indoor track team, and is a pitcher on the varsity baseball team. He has also been active in the Veterans’ Club at school, participated in Cru, and participated in the Assistant Principal selection process last year. He has been an altar server at St. Athanasius Parish since third grade and now helps train servers there as well. He currently serves as a Assistant Scoutmaster for the troop.
Rob’s Road to Eagle
Robert’s love of the outdoors started at an early age, growing up in a neighborhood that borders the Reading Town Forest he spent many days hiking its trails, and exploring its swamps. It was a natural choice for Robert to register for Pack 702 as a Tiger Cub in 2002 with several of his friends from the Birch Meadow Elementary School. Rob and his den mates participated all of the activities provided by the pack including Pinewood Derby, Popcorn Sales, and sleepovers at the USS Salem, the Museum of Science, USS Massachusetts, Ecotarium, Higgins Armory, and the Town Forest. It was during his time as a Cub Scout that Rob began what became an annual tradition - marching in Reading’s Memorial Day parade. During one ceremony at Laurel Hill, he was photographed by the Reading Chronicle saluting during the National Anthem while holding the American Flag.
In the spring of 2007, upon completing the requirements for the Arrow of Light, Rob joined Troop 728 during his Pack’s Cross Over ceremony. Shortly after joining the Troop, Rob participated in his first Troop campout to Nickerson State Park and biked twenty five miles with the group. This trip was one of his favorites because he met other new Scouts who became some of his best friends including: Dan, Jón, Nathan, Jarrod and Sam. A couple months later, Rob made his first of six visits to TL Storer Scout Reservation and tented with his friend Nathan Terry; while there, he completed the Trailblazer program, acquired the first of hiss thirty-five merit badges (Sculpture), and left camp as a Tenderfoot scout. As the years progressed, he joined in on many other trips to the White Mountains, Washington DC, West Point, Block Island, and Fort Ticonderoga.
As part of the Scouting program, Rob had the opportunity to take on many roles within the Troop and to develop his leadership skills. His leadership positions included troop Librarian, Den Chief for Pack 728, assistant Patrol Leader and the Patrol Leader of the Cosmic Hippo patrol, and Quartermaster. Additionally, Rob is a graduate of the National Youth Leadership Training program and a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow.
Community service is a big aspect of the Scouting program and Rob has had the opportunity over the years to volunteer in many ways. His favorite activity was to serve meals at the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea on Thanksgiving Day, he felt that it was an honor to be able to serve the men and women who served and sacrificed for our country.
Robert’s Eagle Scout Project created the St. Francis Garden at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church. This area of the parish grounds was overgrown and difficult to maintain by the parish grounds staff; Rob and his fellow Scouts spent over 200 hours removing the weeks and poor soil from the site, planting hardy plants and shrubs, and installing a base for the statue of St. Francis. The area is now a beautiful spot for reflection and prayer.
Rob is currently a senior at Reading Memorial High School and is a member of the spring track team as a javelin and discus thrower. He also is a member of the Alliance of Veterans and Students, Relentlesss, and the Right Club. Rob will be attending college in the fall and hopes to major in Marine Transportation or Marine Engineering.
Eagle Scouts of Troop 728
2013 - Robert L. Ciaccio, Nathan M. Terry, Jón B. Ásgeirsson, James T. Houston, Nathan B. Strack, Daniel R. Staffier, Michael R. DeMild
2012 - Jacob H. Westar-man, James L. Beding-field, David S. Graham, Luke D. Beaulieu, Kyle J. Krupa, Zachary R. Whelan, Thomas A. Bishop
2011 - Thomas N. Coltman
2010 - Jared P. Beaulieu, Alexander D. Murphy, Alexander J. Grizzell, Nicholas E. Staffier, Joseph Dolben, Thomas E. Cochrane, Cameron Oliver
2009 - Edward Coltman, Corey Graham, Grant Rose, Scott Carlman, Patrick Donnelly Moran
2008 - Colin Baillie
2007 - Christopher J. Bosco
2006 - Sean E. Matthews, Edward O. Carlman IV
2005 - Robert Cochrane, David Ferguson
2004 - Jon Oliver
2003 - Jim Kirlin
2000 - Will S. Korth
1997 - Erik K. Hagstrom
1990 - Kevin A. McCoy
1988 - Mark P. Jesser
1985 - Richard F. Colan Jr.
1981 - Richard W. Smith Jr.
1978 - James Hines, David M. Sprague, Robert G. Fante
1977 - Warren S. Pisarg,
Peter E. MacDonald
1976 - Andrew S. Marshall
1974 - Mark W. Sullivan,
Paul D. Murphy, Matthew A. Evangelista, Jeff J. Turner, Thomas G. Miller
1973 - David G. McConnell, David A. Burkholder
1972 - James J. Sullivan
1970 - Thomas A. Nola
1968 - John J. Hebert
1967 - Dennis P. Ebacher, Robert D. Miller Jr., Robert T. Shea Jr., Edward J. Zanni, James W. Hebert
1963 - Steven A. Brodecki
1962 - Richard L. Sumberg