Eagle Scout given proclamation during Mountainside Council meeting

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MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ — During the Mountainside Borough Council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 21, council members presented Eagle Scout Christian Gonzalez with a proclamation. Gonzalez achieved the highest rank in Scouting, as the 18th Eagle Scout of Mountainside’s Boy Scout Troop 177.

Mountainside Mayor Paul N. Mirabelli praised Gonzalez for his accomplishment and extolled Eagle Scouts, saying they possess great qualities.

“I know towns much smaller than ours that don’t have half the number of Eagle Scouts,” Mirabelli said during the meeting. “I always remember what Leonard Lance said when he came on to honor the Eagle Scout (who) we were doing a proclamation for, and he said, in his mind, Eagle Scouts are going to be the next great politicians in this country — they have honesty, they have integrity, all the qualities that we need in our politicians these days. Maybe someday you’ll be up here, granting proclamations to the 36th Eagle Scout, in the future.”

Councilman Steven Matejek read the proclamation, recognizing Gonzalez’s achievement in acquiring this rank.

“Whereas Scouting is a movement that challenges, inspires and guides young people toward high achievements and high values, as expressed in the Scout Oath, Law, Motto and Slogan and, whereas Eagle is the highest rank in Boy Scouting and requires mastery of difficult challenges in diverse areas,” Matejek said during the meeting. “Whereas, to become an Eagle Scout requires demonstration of good character and community service, and, whereas, only a minority of Scouts ever achieves this distinguished accomplishment, and, whereas Christian Gonzales has demonstrated a special commitment to the Boy Scouts and has worked with great diligence to successfully complete the requirements to the rank of Eagle Scout.

“Whereas, for his Eagle community service project, Christian Gonzales created a path of stepping-stones at the Watchung Reservation’s trail for the sensory impaired, and whereas, 20 concrete stepping-stones were casted and native animal footprints were imprinted onto the tops of the stones, which were then embedded into a 60-foot-long path to serve as a way for people of all abilities to interact with nature,” he continued. “Now, therefore, be it resolved, by the mayor and council of the borough of Mountainside, that they do hereby congratulate Christian Gonzales on attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.”

After accepting this proclamation, Gonzalez recalled his complicated project and thanked the community.

“Firstly, I want to thank all the people in our great community of Mountainside,” Gonzales said during the meeting. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Scouts, while it’s important to have involved members of the Scouting community, what it really comes down to is an involved community. That includes the adults that help, as well as all the people who make the things that we try to do possible. All of the volunteers … are very important.

“Second, I’d like to thank the town council for always being there for our troop and being able to assist us whenever we ask,” he continued. “The county, also, for supplying us with the things we need when we go camping. Trailside Center, and also, for my project specifically, an employee there, Mr. Dan Bernier, helped me so much with my project and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him and the great people who work there. The people at Scout Council, which isn’t in Mountainside, but they also helped and are great people as well.

“The whole process took two and a half years. For my project that I worked on for one and a half years, mostly in the planning phase, it became slow at times and then it sped up, and, eventually, we got it moving. Five revisions were made, and we casted 20 stepping stones out of 5-gallon buckets entirely out of concrete and imprinted animal footprints on the top of them and embedded them into a trail. It was a long process, but, again, I wouldn’t have been able to get there if it wasn’t for the Scouts, the Scout leaders, my father — thank you to everyone, and thank you for the proclamation.”