LAKEHURST – It was a moving and emotional day for the Becker family. It was the culmination of Sean Becker’s Eagle Scout project, and a proud day for his father, Robert, and his mother, Susan.
Mayor Harry Robbins, LHS President George Oglesby and Sean gathered in front of a red, white and blue ribbon beside a new ramp that Sean and several fellow scouts built in recent weeks. The ramp met all the criteria for the American Disabilities Act and that alone, was quite an accomplishment.
“This is very emotional for me because my mother did so much in Lakehurst and she was a member of the Lakehurst Historical Society. She was here every Wednesday and so when my son got this project, he said he was dedicating it to my mother. Builders General donated all of the trucks, Wood Haven Lumber donated all of the lumber, Lowes donated the concrete and all of the flowers, AC Hess donated the boulder and the railing was also donated,” Sean’s mother said.
She added that originally, the ramp was to have been based on the other side of the historic church that houses the museum, “but it is a historical building and the issue was that you can’t put anything attached to the building.” Replacing an existing ramp on the other side of the building became the better option.
The museum is based in the old St. John’s Church, the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Ocean County. It was built in 1874 by Irish railroad workers. The museum features a variety of interesting and unique items.
“It looks beautiful. Good job Sean. I was a cub scout master for five years here at Pack 10,” the mayor said.
Sean Becker has been involved in Scouting for a long time. He was a Cub Scout since first grade. His father was a Cub Scout master. “His first outing as a Tiger Scout was here at the Historical Society and now the last thing he is doing is involving the Historical Society. It has come full circle,” his mother remarked.
The teenager said, “it has been seven months between planning and completion. We started it with a project at St. John’s but the Pinelands (Commission) were disagreeing on a bunch of stuff regarding permits. It was too much of a hassle. I only had three months before I was going to age out (from the Boys Scouts). I’m 18 now but I was 17 when I started the project. I got an extension thankfully. We worked on it for five weekends. At least 12 hours each weekend.
“Seven or eight scouts were involved. I told them what to do, gave them pointers on how to use the tools and went over safety and did the overall planning. An Eagle Scout is supposed to lead the project but I still got my hands dirty and I had fun,” the scout added.
Sean is a high school senior who plans on going to Rowan University for an engineering degree. “Depending on what jobs I get offered I’ll either move south to the Carolinas or stay local. I like this part of New Jersey,” he said.
Robert Becker welcomed those assembled for the dedication. “This is a bit bittersweet for me because this is the end of my son’s scouting career and it has been a long time, 13 years. They say everything happens for a reason. Sean had two Eagle Scout projects that have been canceled before this one. One was at St. John’s in the back prayer garden and that didn’t work out for reasons of the Pinelands. Then we were going to do something in front with gardens and we found that it could go away if they redid the parking lot. Susan’s mom and his grandmother was a volunteer here since day one practically. So, I think she was looking down upon us the whole time and made this project happen.
“Sean found out the handicapped ramp was really in disarray. We even had some people fall on it after we announced we were going to do the project. We all put our heads together and came up with this beautiful ramp which we hope lasts a long time,” the scout master added.
Oglesby said, “I watch the news and the turmoil the world is in and a lot of people of my generation say there is no hope for the future and then Sean comes up with this. I think there is a lot of hope for the future.” He presented the scout with a LHS pin as a thank you for all his efforts.
Public officials, members of the Lakehurst Historical Society, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Color Guard and borough first aid, firemen and police joined residents and Boy Scouts for two ceremonies. The ribbon cutting and a flag retirement ceremony held across the street. This service involves scouts properly destroying worn or tattered flags provided that day by residents.
Susan Becker said a few years ago “an Eagle Scout of Troop 350 did an Eagle project around the town to build mailboxes for all the (retired) flags to be put in. So now Troop 350 in Whiting been burning flags since 10 o’clock this morning and we have about 1,000 flags.”
“My husband said why don’t we do both ceremonies at the same time. Everyone can take a piece of the flag for a loved one and the troops,” she added.