Four young men from Troop 45 of Woodside have recently joined the four percent of Boy Scouts in the U.S. to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
Massimo Accardo, Eamonn Dobey, Aidan Haran, and Oisin Haran — all natives of Maspeth and Middle Village — have climbed the necessary ranks throughout their scouting careers to achieve this ranking.
Prior to planning their Eagle Scout projects, all of which serve local communities, they earned six rank advancements and a minimum of 21 merit badges.
The scouts were also responsible for finding, planning, and coordinating the entirety of their projects, as well as raising funds and purchasing all supplies needed.
Accardo and Dobey devoted their projects to the upkeep and preservation of Forest Park.
Accardo, who’s been involved with the Boy Scouts for 12 years, got the idea for his project by reaching out to NYC Councilman Robert Holden, who referred him to Joseph Block, who is responsible for managing and overseeing the operations, inspections, and maintenance of Forest Park.
During a tour of the park, Accardo decided to work on an overpass on Myrtle Avenue which cuts through the park that hadn’t had any work done on it for nearly 10 years.
“If you look at my before pictures, there was foundation exposed, a lot of mold and rusting, and concrete that was crumbling. There was also a lot of dirt on the sides of the manmade trails that were not safe and very steep,” he said. “So our plan was to resurface the surface itself.”
Accardo and other members of the troop took ample time to scrape off old paint and mold, test for lead, and repaint the surface of the overpass.
They also added cribbing to the neighboring man made walking trail, which involves wooden planks embedded in the ground to use as steps for safer navigation.
Accardo said that this was the troop’s first project during the pandemic, which caused a lot of challenges, including mask mandates and social distancing. However, he is proud of the end result.
“We decided to resurface the entire wall itself, so both sides of the overpass had contrasting colors,” he explained.
“It made it not just look like a project, but like a detailed job, which is what I’m really proud of because it looked professional.”
Dobey took inspiration for his project in a similar fashion, and decided to restore a dilapidated trail in Forest Park.
He said that the path was hazardous for park goers, and was full of potholes, cracks, raised concrete, overgrown thorn bushes, and litter.
He added that the steps that lead to the trail were completely unsafe, with missing parts and slabs that had come off the foundation.
“We repaved all the slabs and filled in the cracks by recementing the whole thing,” he said. “For the trail, we cut back the overgrown bush, shoveled out the soil and added wood chips and mulch, and picked up the garbage that made it unusable.”
Dobey takes pride in the finished product, and said that the project aligns with the overall mission of the Boy Scouts because it focused on cleaning up the community and making it a pleasant place for people to enjoy.
Oisin Haran also kept his project local by helping St. Mel’s Catholic Academy in Flushing prepare for the school year.
“The project was to repaint the outside fence into the playground, paint the vents on the lockers inside the classrooms, build a new wooden fence to surround the garbage area, and modify the iron railing leading down to the basement to make it safer for children,” he said.
He explained that the outside gate was rusted and needed to be repainted, as well as the bike racks that were damaged by being hit by a car at one point.
He feared that the schoolchildren could get injured as a result of these conditions, which is what inspired him to take on the project.
Haran feels immense gratitude for his fellow scouts and troop leaders including Scoutmaster TJ Kerins, COR Fred Coltrinari, and Anthony Chorzepa, who is a retired carpenter.
His twin brother, Aidan Haran, ventured out into Bonitas Youth Service in the East Village for his project, which he completed in November 2021.
Bonitas Youth Services is a student hostel that houses young people from around the world, and Haran discovered that its backyard needed intense restoration.
“The yard was all old bluestone set in dirt, which was uneven. There was also a lot of garbage that needed to be cleaned up,” he said.
“The project included digging up the old backyard, putting in poppies and a drywall for drainage, making raised flower beds, and leveling the backyard to place new patio blocks that made it safe to walk on and suitable to hold events,” he continued.
In fact, the new patio blocks that were put into the yard came via a job in the city, from Martha Stewart’s roof.
To honor the heritage of Father Patrick Moloney, an Irish priest who resides there, Haran arranged for the patio blocks to be engraved with symbols like St. Brigid’s Cross and the ichthys symbol.
To honor their hard work, the four scouts will be recognized during their Eagle Court of Honor on June 17.
Accardo is excited to finally partake in his ceremony, and says that they are “long overdue” as a result of delays from the pandemic.
“An Eagle is made through their actions in their leadership, depending on what they can do to a group and with a group. As for accomplishing it itself, a big part of it is attributed to the leaders,” he said.
“They put in a lot of time, effort, and volunteer hours, and they’ve been like parents to us. They’ve had to deal with a lot of crap from kids who are just stubborn a lot of time, and it takes a lot of patience,” he continued. “So a big part of it is to respect those who have done so much for us.”