The Bay Ridge Boy Scouts continued their noble tradition of saluting community leaders and organizations at their 26th annual Bay Ridge Breakfast for Scouting on Wednesday, June 6, at the Bay Ridge Manor.
Harry D’Onofrio, senior project manager and Head of IT at D’Onofrio General Contractors Corp., Rosemarie McGoldrick, principal at Holy Cross Catholic Academy, Maria Vasaka-Monioudis, president of the Holy Cross Brooklyn Outreach Center, and the Bay Ridge Lawyers Association received awards and citations for their civic contributions.
The event also recognized three Bay Ridge Eagle Scouts who were able to achieve scouting’s highest rank. Only about three or four percent of scouts earn this prestigious honor.
Eagle Scout recognition was given to Joseph D’Onofrio and Nicholas D’Onofrio of St. Anselm Catholic Academy’s Troop 13 and Kirwin Seger of Our Lady of Angels (OLA) Troop 23, the oldest Boy Scout troop in the United States chartered by a Catholic Church.
For history buffs, Troop 23 was started in 1910 in a barn in what is now Owl’s Head Park. The troop subsequently moved to the local YMCA, the gym of Bay Ridge High School, and finally relocated to its current location at OLA.
Troop 13 was founded in 1948 at Saint Anselm, where it remains today.
James McHugh, senior vice president of Signature Bank, served as master of ceremonies. McHugh, an Eagle Scout, also serves on the Brooklyn Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
McHugh thanked the Boy Scouts for diligently providing programs to over 5,000 youths in Brooklyn. The breakfast raised $16,000 to support Boy Scouts in Brooklyn.
McHugh introduced 12-year-old Mark Twain Junior High School seventh grader William Gonzalez, a scout from Troop 13 who was working his way to Eagle Scout.
Gonzalez said that he was won over by scouting the first time he went out into the woods and got dirty “without being scolded.” Gonzalez said that he learned from an early age that scouting “provides purpose, instills self- confidence and self-esteem and builds commitment to one’s community.”
Gonzalez said that the best part of scouting is that it allows him to give back. McHugh presented him with a medallion of the Eagle Scout medal.
New York Scout Executive Ethan Draddy said that whether you were a scout for a short period of time or a long period of time, it sticks with you. Draddy offered a bit of scouting history. “Before Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president of the United States, he was the volunteer chairman of our board of New York City Scouting and Exploring,” Draddy said.
He went on to explain that “Roosevelt’s great contribution to us was that he and some business people raised the money in private to purchase the land that became one of the biggest scout camps on earth – Ten Mile River Scout Camps. Ninety-one years later, Ten Mile River is still going very, very strong.”
Draddy said he believed that scouting in New York City was on the upswing with more volunteers and more alumni, although he added that even more volunteers are needed.
Northfield Bank Branch Manager and Vice-President Brian Chin presented the first Community Achievement Award to attorney Margaret Stanton, president of the Bay Ridge Lawyers Association.
The Bay Ridge Lawyers Association was formed in 1954 as a group of local attorneys who were actively involved in community events. Since then it has grown to over 200 members who today participate in the Ragamuffin Parade, the Halloween window painting contest and other neighborhood events.
Vasaka-Monioudis and the Brooklyn Outreach Center provide year-round help for homeless New Yorkers, including a monthly Midnight Run with volunteers delivering food, clothing and toiletries to homeless individuals throughout the city.
Vasaka-Monioudis was a Girl Scout and has been volunteering as a leader with the Girl Scouts for 15 years. She has also been volunteering with the Cub Scouts for seven years.
As the mother of two children in scouting, she called scouting the best possible extracurricular activity and organization a child can be involved in because “it teaches them respect, responsibility, it builds character and it teaches them to be future leaders.”
She recalled her first Midnight Run bringing supplies to the homeless on 42nd Street who were living in boxes. She said that it changed her life and invited all the scout troops to come join the monthly Midnight Run.
Newly-minted Eagle Scout Nicholas D’Onofrio introduced his father Harry. He said that when his father asked him to do the introduction, his response was, ‘Why do I have to introduce you, everyone knows who you are.’
Bensonhurst-born D’Onofrio graduated from Xaverian High School and attended Pace University. He’s been married 21 years to his wife Jennifer and they have three children. D’Onofrio is president of the 68th Precinct Youth Council, has coached both baseball and soccer, and is also a dedicated scout volunteer.
New York Conservative Party Chairperson Mike Long introduced the Brooklyn-born McGoldrick, who has been principal at Holy Angels Catholic Academy for the last 10 years. “It’s very fitting that one of our honorees here today is an educator,” Long said.
McGoldrick, the married mother of two grown sons, said that as a former Girl Scout she truly believes in scouting. “I believe in children,” McGoldrick said. “They are the future. We live in a society that has many challenges for the youth of today, many challenges that we ourselves did not face. And I truly believe that with support from adults in school…children can grow and learn and be supported. And I believe that scouting does that.”