Franklin Square Scouts collect supplies for veterans


As members of Boy Scout Troop 485 begin their Eagle Scout projects, two scouts in particular have set their sights on helping veterans both at home and abroad. Sixteen-year-olds Kyle Jurasits, of Franklin Square, and Sebastian Morales, of Elmont, have dedicated their Eagle Scout projects to gathering supplies and donating them to organizations that helps US veterans.

“Veterans gave the ultimate service to our country, so I wanted to give back to them and help out,” Jurasits said.

Jurasits is collecting non-perishable foods for Nassau County Veterans Service Agency’s Vet Mart, a food pantry in East Meadow that serves veterans and their families. Jurasits’s goal is to collect more than 150 boxes, jars and containers of milk, cereal, fruit, jelly and rice to donate to the pantry.

Morales is also looking to collect an assortment of foods, as well as hygiene products and entertainment supplies, for the Boots on the Ground NY veterans service organization. While Boots on the Ground NY is based in Long Island and provides aid to local veterans, the group also has a care package program that sends out supplies to actively deployed veterans in the Middle East and around the world. Morales said he wanted to help veterans because he has two veterans in his family - one of whom died in service just two weeks before he was supposed to return home back in 2007.

“It was during church that this mother came up to me after she heard about my project and mentioned the Boots on the Ground group,” Morales said. “ She told me all about them, and that’s how I decided who I would donate to.”

The Eagle Scout project is one of the last leadership projects Boys Scouts take in order to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. The project demands that scouts use all the leadership, planning and development skills that they’ve acquired and use it to help benefit their local community. Aside from Jurasits and Morales, four other scouts will be undertaking their Eagle Scout project this year. Antonio Buccellato, one of these scouts, plans to install new benches and trees on Valley Stream 13’s Willow Road Elementary School, in Franklin Square.

The scouts said their projects ultimately required a lot of paperwork to set up, but both Jurasits and Morales hope to have their families’ garages filled with boxes of donations by the end of their collection campaign.

Troop 485 Scoutmaster Gary Hansen and his wife, Debra, are advising the boys on their projects. Gary said that after 10 of his scouts graduated to Eagle Scouts back in spring, the younger scouts were more motivated to complete their own projects.

“The older boys showed them the way and lead by example, and now they’re following in their footsteps,” Gary said.