Richard Cooper III reaches Eagle Scout rank

Project was building patio, benches at St. Joseph Church property

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  • Richard Cooper III and his volunteers moved four tons of pavers for the patio at St. Joseph Church.

  • The finished product was an impressive patio that will be enjoyed by many for years to come.

Richard Cooper III received his Eagle Scout designation at a Court of Honor ceremony on May 24 at St. Joseph’s Church in West Milford.

The son of Richard and Joanne Cooper and a freshman at the University of Scranton, Richard III is a member of Troop 114, chartered by St. Joseph’s Church in West Milford and led by Scoutmaster Jeff Hanson.

He became a Cub Scout in 2001 and has served as a den chief, historian, troop guide, patrol leader, and assistant senior patrol leader. In addition, he has earned the Ad Altare Dei, Pope Pius XII and Pillars of Faith religious awards and the Den Chief Service Award.

To earn the Eagle Scout rank, the highest advancement rank in Scouting, a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the area of leadership, community service and outdoor skills. While there are many options available to demonstrate proficiency in these areas, a number of specific skills are required to advance through the ranks, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle.

Richard’s Eagle Scout project consisted of leading and directing scouts, friends, and adults in replacing a small, weather-damaged 10 foot by 10 foot patio with a 10 foot by 20 foot patio for the St. Joseph’s Convent. The patio is used by the nuns, parishioners, and youth groups for meetings when weather permits. To complete the patio, Richard supplied four large cedar planters and three benches with cushions for seating. The goal was to provide a durable, safe and attractive place for meetings. The project required 338 man hours.

The project
The first part of the project was to remove old, broken pavers and prepare the site for the “new” pavers. This required digging out the planned site to a depth of 12 inches which would accommodate six inches of quarry process, two inches of stone dust, and the four inch thick pavers.

The next part of the project was to acquire the labor, money, and materials for the patio. Donations of pavers, quarry process, stone dust and sand, as well as use of a compactor provided the materials needed for the patio. A bake sale, supported by Richard’s friends in the church youth group, provided the money needed for benches and planters. With support from the troop, scout leaders, and parents, the project was completed over the course of six months.

Challenges included weather, transporting over four tons of pavers 80 miles, Hurricane Sandy, and trying to keep the scouts filled with pizza as they dug up and laid down bricks.

Big thanks

Richard would like to thank Troop 114 scoutmasters, the troop committee, the scouts and adults in his troop who assisted him, Walter Bednarski for his paver donation, the St. Joseph Antioch Teen group for the bake sale, Braen Quarry, the Township of West Milford DPW, Macopin Pizza, Doug Goldberg for use of his truck, The Ligosh Family for the tile saw, The Gabay Family, Father Steve and Sisters Janet and Geraldine for their patience and assistance. He also thanks the Boy Scouts of American Norther New Jersey Council and particularly Jack Boyle for the guidance through the Eagle Requirements.

The fact that a boy is an Eagle Scout has always carried with it a special significance, not only in Scouting, but also as he enters higher education, business or industry, and community service. The award is a performance-based achievement whose standards have been well maintained over the years. Not every boy who joins a boy scouting troop earns Eagle Scout Rank. About 2.5 percent of all Boy Scouts do earn the rank. This represents more than one million Boy Scouts who have earned the rank since 1911. Nevertheless, the goals of scouting – citizenship training, character development, and personal fitness - remain important to all Scouts, whether or not they attain the Eagle Scout Rank.

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