It was a testament to good, old-fashioned values and ethics as eight deserving young men with exemplary community service joined the esteemed ranks of Eagle Scouts.
One of Brooklyn’s largest Boy Scout Troops, Troop 715, welcomed eight new members into the hallowed Eagle Scout Court of Honor on Saturday, June 9.
Sponsored by Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, the ceremony brought out a number of scoutmasters from across the state, elected officials and community leaders to salute the remarkable achievement of these young men. Only five percent of all scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
The new Eagle Scouts are Angelo Leonardos, John Anthony Capetanakis, Evan Jordan Capetanakis, Evan Koutsopetras, Carmelo Sorrentino, Salvatore Sorrentino, James Johnson and Mark Mollo.
Troop 715 Committee Chairperson Andrew Yiannakos served as master of ceremonies along with Scoutmaster James Vavas.
Assemblymember Peter Abbate was the first elected official to speak. Abbate said that even though he was never a Boy Scout, his father was, and he has been a champion of the organization throughout his years in public service. He presented the honorees with a citation from the state Assembly.
Frank Panagakos, national vice-chairperson and scoutmaster emeritus, presented each honoree with a certificate from the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting.
2002 Eagle Scout inductee and Counsel to the Borough President Andrew Gounardes presented each scout with a certificate of recognition from the office of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
Gounardes told the scouts they would be Eagle Scouts for the rest of their lives and that their mission is to “help those individuals who need help and who are lost in the fog in every way possible.”
The honorees also received certificates of recognition from representatives of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York State Comptroller Scott Stringer, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis and City Councilmember Justin Brannan, among others.
Maria Vasaka Monioudis, Girl Scout, Cub scoutmaster and president of the Holy Cross Brooklyn Outreach Center, said that this is very special day because the Scouts “are not only receiving an Eagle Scout badge but they are receiving a badge of honor. Being an Eagle Scout proves that you have achieved something not everybody can. It recognizes years and years of accomplishment.”
U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan awarded each scout with a Congressional certificate of merit. “While many of your friends are playing video games and sleeping in late, and not making the sacrifices that are required of you, you have a lot to be proud of,” Donovan said. “[Former Mayor and Eagle Scout] Mike Bloomberg told me one time that 80 percent of the CEOs in this nation are Eagle Scouts. Probably not 80 percent of people who have graduated from Harvard or Yale are CEOs.”
Donovan called scouting a remarkable responsibility and acknowledged the sacrifices the scouts’ parents make. “While some parents aren’t responsible for their own children, people in scouting are responsible for other people’s children,” Donovan added.
Following the Eagle Scout Charge and the recitation of the scout oath, each new Eagle Scout had the opportunity to recognize their parents and present them with an Eagle Scout pin.
State Sen. Marty Golden, who served on the scouting board for years, presented each scout with a resolution from the State Senate. “This resolution will put each Eagle Scout in the history books,” Golden said. “Eight Eagle Scouts being honored here tonight. Think about it. It’s a remarkable achievement not unlike graduating college. These individuals up here will be running corporations someday. And these young people have that foundation because they are Eagle Scouts.”