Nick Minniti, Jr. is the newest Eagle Scout from Fair Haven Troop 125. Nick is a Long Branch NJ resident who passed his Eagle Board of Review on July 2, 2003. He is the first Long Branch NJ resident to receive this recognition in over 10 years. The service project that Nick proposed and carried out was centered on honoring our fallen and departed veterans while also trying to assist VFW Post 2140 in Long Branch in honoring them. On Memorial Day in 2000, Nick and his troop were asked to assist the VFW in honoring the departed veterans buried in Greenlawn cemetery in West Long Branch, NJ. The procedure at the time was to go out into the cemetery and locate as many of the veterans as could be found and place an American flag on the gravesite. This procedure took anywhere from 1-1/2 to 2 hours to accomplish. This was not due to the lack of help but to not having any specific idea or map of where all the buried veterans were located. Nick began thinking of a better way to locate these graves, not just one time but every year. In 2002 Nick proposed fundraising to purchase cast aluminum veteran grave markers, plot out the location of all the veterans that could be physically located in the cemetery and mark the graves with a marker as his Eagle service project. Nick’s goal was to find as many of the graves and mark all of them before Memorial Day 2003. The VFW’s list of who was buried there contained 118 names. The project took 9 months to accomplish and Nick met all of his objectives. He was able to fundraise enough money to purchase 125 grave markers (he was able to find 7 grave sites that the VFW did not know where there) and supplies to complete the entire project and even finished ON-TIME! Nick even supplied the VFW with a new map and an updated list of the veterans buried there. This research was used by the county seat to update their records. When he met the VFW and the scouts who had gone out to help place the markers on Memorial Day 2003, the entire process of finding the graves and placing the American Flag on the gravesite only took about 20 minutes and all 125 were marked. Through determination and perseverance, Nick accomplished a task that will remain a tribute to honor those that gave the ultimate sacrifice so we could have the freedom that we enjoy today and to his accomplishments in completing the project. In his project write-up Nick puts it best when he says; “The most important lesson that I learned was sacrifice. I always took for granted the things we could do in our country. I didn’t realize the importance of how our country got like it is today. The men and women that I tried to honor sacrificed their lives to make this country what it is today for me and all Americans.” Aside from teaching the basics of different levels of management, this project taught this 15 year old about respect, sacrifice and honor. A lesson that was well learned and will be remembered by all who were involved and all of those that the project touched. Here is an example of what Nick’s project accomplished.
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