SKANEATELES — It was standing room only in the main dining room of the Sherwood Inn Thursday as four members of Boy Scout Troop 61 received their Eagle Scout awards during the weekly meeting of the Skaneateles Rotary Club.
The Rotary Club has sponsored the troop since 1933. About 60 Rotarians, parents and invited guests attended.
Honored were Christopher Niebuhr, brothers Dan and Jim O'Connell, and Rex Ramsgard. Eagle Scout is the Boy Scouts of America's highest honor. The four are 2016 graduates of Skaneateles High School. They grew up, camped, volunteered and participated in recreational activities together and were involved in scouting since the first grade.
Several who attended the event said it was a humbling and touching ceremony. In partial fulfillment of their Eagle Scout awards, the four young men had to create, plan and successfully complete community service projects.
Niebuhr's Eagle Service project was to transform a supply room at Park Central Presbyterian Church in Syracuse into a community closet. He, along with his family and friends, emptied the room, repainted it and built and added standalone shelving.
Niebuhr also organized a donation drive to collect household supplies for young men in their early 20s finishing a Salvation Army program and young women leaving the Syracuse penitentiary to pick up belongings they could use to begin their own apartment life free of cost.
He is attending American University in Washington, D.C.
Dan O'Connell's service project was building, delivering and installing 24 box privies for Stillwater Reservoir. He built these with the help of 29 people, including fellow Scouts, friends and neighbors. They were also stained and prepared for the state Department of Environmental Conservation for transportation to the site.
He expressed gratitude to all who helped him grow in scouting. He is attending St. John Fisher College, studying to be a nurse. When at home he is an emergency medical technician for Skaneateles Ambulance Volunteer Emergency Services.
Dan's brother, Jim, has been attending the National Outdoor Leadership School. He expressed gratitude for the skills he learned in scouting.
Organizing the Sunday school supply room at First Presbyterian Church in Skaneateles was Jim O'Connell's Eagle Scout service project. He designed and built two new shelving units, secured new containers and purchased new supplies. He was assisted by other Scouts and friends.
For his Eagle Scout service project, Rex Ramsgard designed and built a trail marker sign for the Creekside Trail. This was in honor of former Troop 61 Scoutmaster Steve Krause.
Following approval of the Skaneateles village board, Ramsgard, directing other Scouts, completed the trail. He said the skills he learned as a Boy Scout have helped him in his travels abroad.
He enrolled in the Seamester program exploring the world from the deck of a sailing vessel. This educational experience has taken him to the far corners of the world — from the British Virgin Islands to the Italian and French Riviera and the Far East.
After a 13-day return to Skaneateles, he was off to Cape Town, South Africa for another adventure with the 2 Oceans Maritime School. He will be there for five or six months being trained to become a certified yacht master.
"He only had a one way ticket, so who knows where and what is next?" said his mother, Sherie Ramsgard.