A Southampton Boy Scout who rose to the rank of Eagle Scout was formally honored this weekend at a Court of Honor ceremony.
Patrick Terry, 17, completed his board of review, the last step on the trail to Eagle, in October. This past Sunday, his troop, Southampton Troop 58, and community leaders publicly recognized his achievement at the Southampton United Methodist Church, which charters the troop.
Unlike other scouting ranks, Eagle is also considered an award—and the highest youth award in Scouting.
Among other requirements for the rank, a Scout must complete a service project to benefit a school, religious institution or his community. Patrick’s project benefitted all three in one: McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School in Riverhead.
“I felt that Mercy is my community since I spend most of my day there,” he said of his school. “I really only come back to Southampton to eat and sleep.”
Patrick said he started thinking of his project a year ahead of time, pondering what he could do for his school.
“It’s a Catholic school, and there’s not many things around it that would really show it,” he explained. “So, I decided to make a meditation garden with a statue of Mary.”
The statue stands on a rock in the middle of four mahogany benches on a sandstone path surrounded by mulch and flowers. Patrick’s fellow Scouts and adult leaders as well as his friends from outside the troop contributed 276.5 man-hours to the project.
“He had every detail covered, from how he was going to water the plants to what kind of benches he wanted to put,” said Dr. Steven Cheeseman, Mercy’s principal, who has gotten to know Patrick very well. Mr. Cheeseman said he had no hesitation in authorizing the project on school grounds. Students sit in the garden while waiting for their buses home, and it has even been used for school retreats, according to the principal.
“It’s really a place to provide rest in a calm surrounding,” he said.
Dr. Cheeseman said he was impressed that Patrick also made a commitment to maintain the garden.
“What he did for his Eagle Scout project is only one of the things he’s done for the school,” Dr. Cheeseman added. Under the mentorship of a teacher, Patrick also led a team of students on an environmental project to map out the depth and sediment levels in a pond at the school and identify plant species.
Patrick is also a member of the National Honor Society, was a student ambassador to the British Isles with People to People and is captain of his high school football team.
“You just try to be the best you can at everything you do,” the young man said. “Being the best I can in Boy Scouting is being Eagle.”
“He deserves everything that he’s worked for and everything he gets,” said Tac Hostetter, Troop 58’s Scoutmaster.
Patrick has a lot on his plate, Mr. Hostetter pointed out. In addition to being a football captain, Patrick is also on Mercy’s wrestling and lacrosse teams. He teaches religious education classes to fifth-graders as well.
Nonetheless, “he’s made as much time as he possibly can for the troop,” Mr. Hostetter said.
“Patrick’s an almost out-of-the-book Scout,” said Thom Speckenbach, an assistant Scoutmaster and Patrick’s Eagle adviser. Mr. Speckenbach described Patrick as a born leader. Whenever he has asked a younger Scout who they look up to in the troop, the answer is always “Patrick,” he said.
“A lot of people stereotype an Eagle Scout for just knowing knots and stuff like that,” Patrick said. But that’s not all it is, he noted. “Most of it is actually leadership and being able to deal with people.”
Those are the Scouting skills he said that have helped him most in life.
The 17-year-old is now looking forward to college. Though he hasn’t settled on a school just yet, he knows what his area of study will be: civil engineering.
“My dad has a construction company, so ever since I was little, I’ve been into that kind of stuff,” Patrick said. His father, Robert Terry, owns and operates Terry Contracting and Materials Inc. in Riverhead.
Patrick said he was able to apply to his Eagle project what he learned working with his father, adding that he felt very fortunate to know what he wants to do in life, when so many others don’t.