TOPSFIELD – Four new Eagle Scouts from Topsfield Troop 81 were celebrated last month in front of a court of honor for their service projects documenting the historic experiences of Jewish veterans, beautifying the Pine Grove cemetery, installing a scale model of a solar system along the city rail and construction of a new footbridge along a footpath on the Weir Hill property of the Trustees of Reservations in North Andover.
Those who received the highest recognition from the Boy Scouts were Joshua L. Barosin, of Georgetown; Thomas J. Eagan and Liam G. Gillespie, both of Topsfield; and William R. Guggenberger of North Andover – this brought the total number of Troop 81 Scouts who have earned this honor to 220 since 1976.
The ceremony, held June 9 at the Emerson Center in Topsfield, was attended by family, friends and cast members, as well as local officials – State Senator Bruce Tarr, State Representative Jamie Belsito, Topsfield Select Chairman Marshall Hook and Board Member Rafael McDonald. The Topsfield Congregational Church is the founding sponsor of Troop 81.
Barosin, 19, is a graduate of Georgetown High School and is studying mechanical engineering with a minor in aerospace studies at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He is currently vice president of the Blue Crew, a club dedicated to showing support for the UMass-Lowell track and field teams.
His Eagle Scout project was “The Jewish War Veterans History Project” to benefit the Lappin Foundation in Salem, an organization that helps Jewish teenagers in the North Shore connect with their heritage. The Lappin Foundation sponsors an annual trip for Jewish high school students to Israel, a program in which Barosin was able to participate. His service project was an opportunity to give back to the Lappin Foundation. He interviewed eight Jewish veterans of wars dating back to Korea and focused on their lives, their connection to Judaism, and their experiences of anti-Semitism on and off duty. The interviews have been edited into a longer summary, along with how each veteran’s service inspired leadership in others.
Eagan is a recent graduate of Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School in Danvers. Passionate about the outdoors for many years, he has been canoeing since the age of 3 and learning survival techniques at the age of 5. He has practiced sport shooting and snowshoeing for several years and holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He was also on the Essex Tech wrestling team and is an active member of St. Adelaide Parish in Peabody.
For his service project, Eagan led a team of adults and Boy Scouts to beautify Pine Grove Cemetery in conjunction with the Topsfield Department of Public Works. The project involved creating an information map for the cemetery, building a large custom-designed gazebo to house the map, and an information bulletin board. They also installed 16 pole signs for each street in the city’s main cemetery.
Gillespie, 18, has just graduated from Masconomet Regional Secondary School with high honors. At Masco he ran cross country, track, was in the band and drum set, competed at the regional and state DECA levels, was a student council representative, a member of the National Honor Society and the scientific team and the chess club. He is attending Cornell University this fall and plans to major in chemical engineering.
Gillespie built a scale model of the solar system along 3 miles of the Topsfield Rail Trail, with an informative display for each planet. The planets are precisely sized and scaled at a ratio of 1:1 billion with the actual solar system. Each station has a fully detailed planet, held in a protective acrylic dome at the correct planetary tilt and mounted on a wooden pole with a sign outlining information about the planet.
Guggenberger, 17, will be a junior at St. John’s Prep in Danvers. He is part of the football, swimming and rugby teams, as well as outdoor adventure and investment clubs. He is on the student council, served as class president for his sophomore year and will do so again this year. He is also active with Campus Ministry and has made several service trips, serves as a student representative on the North Andover Patriotic Observance Committee in his hometown, and is active in St. Michael’s Parish.
Guggenberger’s Eagle Scout Project has replaced an old footbridge with a new and improved one along a trail at Weir Hill in North Andover. He led a team of scouts and adults on the project last fall. He spends a lot of time hiking the Trustees trails and working with them on his project was a way to give back. The new 80-foot-long bridge spans a marshy area and reaches a height of 2½ feet when crossing a stream. It also provides a smoother, flatter surface for walking, biking and skiing. Along the edges of the deck, Guggenberger added a guard rail that provides a border to prevent bike tires and skis from sliding off.