NEW BERLIN — It was a night to reflect and rejoice.
Nearly 300 people visited the Holy Apostles school gym on May 17 to pay homage to eight Boy Scouts in Troop 93 who achieved the distinct honor of earning the Eagle Scout rank, the highest level of recognition a Scout can receive. The troop is under the auspices of the Holy Apostles Holy Name Society.
The Eagle Court of Honor included a ceremony and dinner. Several dignitaries also were on hand, among them: New Berlin Mayor Jack Chiovatero, State Senator Mary Lazich, State Representative Mark Gundrum and representatives from the Marine Corps and American Legion.
Each Eagle Scout must earn 21 merit badges and each must initiate and complete a service project.
Ed Rivard, assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 93, was moved to tears as he reflected on the progression that took place in the Scouts’ lives over the years.
“What took place (at the event) … it meant a lot,” Rivard said, choked up by the realization of what the Scouts had achieved. “These kids have matured quite a bit over the past several years. Their energy has been a positive reinforcement, not only to the boys following them, but to us leaders as well.”
Ernie Bottom, a fellow assistant scoutmaster for the troop, agreed that the Eagle Scouts have come a long way.
“I remember a time when these kids couldn’t tie knots, and now they’re comfortable doing that,” Bottom said. “Basically, they feel like they can do anything, and they pretty much can.”
The large number of Eagle Scout recipients could, perhaps, be tied to Troop 93’s emphasis on faith. Because of its ties to Holy Apostles, the troop is involved with parish activities throughout the year. The Scouts serve at the Holy Name breakfast, the taco salad booth at the church festival and the monthly fellowship breakfast.
“It’s nice for the parishioners to see that we’re here, and we’re active,” Bottom said. “We’ve been fortunate. We have a great relationship with the church.”
Catholic values also are a fundamental part of the activities for the 60 Scouts within the troop.
“The kids are taught not only to understand their faith, but to grow in it and live it,” Rivard said.
Rivard’s son, Jacob, was among the scouts from Troop 93 to become an Eagle Scout. Jacob built a double-sided information kiosk at the New Berlin Historic Park that will provide such details as a map and a listing of upcoming events.
“I like to work with my hands and build stuff,” Jacob, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said. “I was always motivated by construction, so I wanted to do something like this for my Eagle Scout project.”
Jacob said his Catholic faith has played a pivotal role in the work he has done within the Boy Scouts.
“It feels good to be able to help people,” he said. “I had a parochial education growing up, and I was always taught the importance of helping people.”
Andy Bottom, Ernie Bottom’s son, also earned the rank. The Carroll University freshmen used his knowledge of computers to design trail maps at Malone Park in New Berlin. He and fellow Scouts built and installed map stands, park benches and landscaped overgrown parts of the trail.
“I thought the trail was a real good resource, and it should be better used,” Andy said. “I thought it would be nicer for people if I worked on the trail.”
Another Eagle Scout recipient, David Kratz, put his handiwork to use outside the New Berlin area and closer to his home near Miller Park in Milwaukee. He planned and installed swinging benches along the Hank Aaron Trail and worked with local businesses to fund the necessary materials.
“I thought this would be a good contribution to a developing area,” said Kratz, who will soon graduate from Pius XI High School.
The other recipients were:
- Alex DiFonzo, a Brookfield East High School senior, who made and collected blankets and donated them to the Linus Project, an organization that serves children who are hospitalized with an extended illness.
- David Grebe, a Waukesha Catholic Memorial High School senior, who was involved in renovating the Valley View Disc Golf Course in New Berlin. Work included overseeing the construction of portions of the golf course, soil erosion control and building a bridge.
- John Grosch, a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point student, who helped create a 300-yard walking path near the New Berlin Community Center.
- Christopher Hahn, a Waukesha West High School senior, who constructed a walking path through a historic cemetery in New Berlin so it was accessible to the public.
- Christopher Scheele, a junior at Pius XI High School, who organized a series of collec–tions to gather new and used athletic shoes. The nearly 1,200 pairs of shoes Scheele collected were given to the One World Running organization in Colorado and were distributed to children in Kenya and Haiti.