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Meet Troop #44’s Six New Eagle Scouts

Written by Mike Parker and K. Brown.

Six Eagle Scouts + an Eagle

On Sunday, July 16, 2017, in a ceremony at the Haddam Fire House, six young men from Haddam Boy Scout Troop #44 achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, Boy Scouting’s highest rank. Akshay Khunte, Evan Mainetti, Noah Miller, Ben Nicholas, Evan Stock and Fred Stock were given their Eagle Charge after successfully completing the numerous requirements for Boy Scouting’s highest rank, including an extensive final community service project.

Evan Mainetti in the GaGa Pit

Evan Mainetti, age 14, has lived in Haddam his entire life. Evan is the son of Nick and Chris Manietti. Evan has been in scouting since he was 7 years old, a “Tiger Scout.” As a Webelos 2 Scout, he received the highest honor “Super Achiever” before crossing over to Haddam Boy Scout Troop #44. Evan’s service project was the installation of a GaGa pit at Valley Bible Evangelical Church in Haddam. Evan explained, “A GaGa Ball Pit  is an enjoyable activity for youth of all ages. The game is played by hitting a ball with your open hand and avoiding it by means of jumping or stepping to the side.  If you are hit by the ball below the knees you are unfortunately out. Games conveniently take 10 to 15 minutes depending on the skill level of the players, providing a fast paced game.”  According to Evan, “I chose the church because it provides a lot to the cub scouts as a venue for their meetings. This project benefits the church because they have a large youth group that meets on Wednesday night that played GaGa ball. They used folding tables in the past [which] did not work very well for them.”

Akshay’s Eagle Project

Akshay Khunte, age 14, has lived in Haddam for 10 years. Akshay is the son of Ajay and Bhagyashree Khunte. Akshay has been in scouting since he was six years old. Akshay’s Eagle project involved building a very expansive aviary that would house a rescued peregrine falcon for Horizon Wings, a raptor rehabilitation and education center in Ashford, CT. Akshay is a sophomore at Xavier High School.

Noah Miller, age 18, has lived in Haddam since he was 3 years old. Noah is the son of Salli and Charles Miller. He joined the Cub Scouts in first grade when he was six years old. Noah’s community project involved a much needed clean up and repair of several of Haddam’s historic cemeteries. Noah also built and installed informational kiosks at those locations. He graduated HKHS in June and will be attending the UConn School of Engineering in September.

Ben’s HES Shade Structure

Ben Nicholas, age 18, has lived in Haddam his entire life. Ben is the son of Greg and Anne Nicholas. Ben started in the cub scouts in 2007, and became a boy scout in 2010. Ben met with Bryan Kerachsky, then Principal of Haddam Elementary School, to see if there was a project that they needed at the school, and Mr. Kerachsky suggested some sort of shade for the playground. Ben designed, built, and installed a new shade structure on the playing field on the south side of Haddam Elementary School. Many people have said it is a great addition to the school.

Evan and Fred Stock, age 18, are the twin sons of Diane and David Stock. Evan worked with the Village Park Society of Haddam in securing old abandoned open well locations at Field Park, and planting several trees that were originally part of the 1878 landscape architect plans. Fred created a new overlook area for the Haddam Land Trust.  The overlook is located at the Eugene O. and Mabel Clark Burr Preserve at Cedar Hill off of Rt. 154 in Higganum.  This cleared outcrop has an information station and picnic table with a great view of the Higganum area.

This Eagle charge ceremony marks the first time Troop #44 has awarded six scouts the rank of Eagle at once, a record in its over 75-year history. Many family, friends and former scouts were in attendance including one special guest, Mary Beth Kaeser, president of Horizon Wings. Mary Beth attended the event with Atka a 3 year old American Bald Eagle, the Symbol of the Eagle Scout Rank.  Everyone in the Haddam area will benefit from all the work that these six young men have done to better our community.