By CHRIS EBERHART
Two Boy Scouts from Troop 353 in Eastchester are in the process of receiving the highest honor in scouting.
Chris Lazzaro, a senior at Fordham Prep, and Alejandro Urbina, a senior at Tuckahoe High School, are on the brink of becoming Eagle Scouts, an honor that their scout master, Mike Occhicone, said only about 4 percent of scouts reach.
“In order to become an Eagle Scout, you have to live by the scout oath and the scout law,” Occhino said. “Both Chris and Alejandro have demonstrated those values and leadership. And not only do they have to achieve certain personal goals, but they have to impart the values and skills on the young scouts, and they’ve excelled in teaching and leading.
Lazzaro, who has been in the scouts for six years, completed his Eagle Scout project, which is the final step after moving up the ranks and earning all 21-merit badges before becoming an Eagle Scout, by leading a group of scouts in refurbishing a much-used paved pathway in Bronxville Manor of Eastchester.
Lazzaro said he and the other volunteer scouts stripped away the old, rusted mesh fence and poisonous plants before painting the existing poles to match the new , PVC-coated mesh fence, which was paid for through a tag sale Lazzaro ran in April at the Immaculate Conception Church on Winterhill Road in Tuckahoe.
Lazzaro said, all the items sold during his tag sale were donated by supporters of his project, while any items that went unsold were donated to Goodwill.
“I wanted to beautify the paved pathway,” Lazzaro said. “And I wanted to have a long-lasting effect on the community. [The renovation project] wasn’t in the town budget, so it wasn’t going to happen unless I stepped up and did it.”
Lazzaro’s project is complete, and now he waits for the extensive review process to verify he has all his badges and determine if he’s worthy of becoming an Eagle Scout.
As Lazzaro waits to officially become an Eagle Scout, Urbina is beginning his Eagle Scout project.
Urbina, who has been in the scouts for five years, said he wants to recreate a music and memory program—in which music is used to help the elderly struggling with memory loss illnesses to reconnect with their youth and help them remember better times—in a Westchester nursing home.
Before the program can be installed in a nursing home, Urbina said he has to collect old iPods, CDs, and hard drives, which are used to store the music, and cash donations to purchase music and hard drives.
He said he began a music drive in the Tuckahoe school district and made a presentation after a winter concert in the William Cottle School in Tuckahoe, where he raised $440.
Urbina said, in total, he has raised $660 and his early success allowed him to push his goal from raising $750 to $1,000.
Urbina, who plays guitar, said music has always been a passion, which is why he chose this project.
Earning Eagle Scout, Urbina said, will help him stand out as he applies for college.
“Earning that award gives you access to things you wouldn’t normally have access to,” Urbina said. “When you become an Eagle Scout, you move up to the top of the list when you’re applying for colleges. They know it takes very strict discipline, hard work and involves a lot of leadership skills.”
He said if anyone would like to donate cash, old iPods, CDs or hard drives, he can be contacted at Alejandro.Urbina98@gmail.com.