Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award for 2018
For Michael Gawronski, the toughest part of completing his Eagle Scout project wasn’t the actual construction aspect, but rather getting the grown-ups to understand his vision and build confidence in them that he could get the job done. Although there were numerous delays in the 2+ year process when life got in the way with other priorities like homework, marching band, concerts, Scouting Jamborees, politics and of course the weather, all can agree the final product, a Trailhead Kiosk at the Lane Nature Center is spectacular, well deserving of Mayflower Council’s selection as the Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award for 2018. The Trail Head Kiosk displays useful information about the Lane Property Nature Center and allows for posting of events occurring on the property. Trails were mapped. Fishing, picnic and camping locations were identified. The Kiosk is the central focus of the Nature Center as visitors arrive, allowing them to quickly plan where they would like to travel on the property. His project has encouraged increased usage by residents of Foxborough and neighboring communities.
If you’ve been up to the property any weekend in the last few years, you’ve probably noticed a very tired looking boy scout amongst the piles of rocks and dust clouds of mortar. With trowel in hand, he and his fellow scouts along with three generations of family were feverishly working to complete the project before the winter weather would set in. He learned what it takes to do a really big project and what it takes to finish it, lots of planning and lots of help. “There are some things you just can’t do yourself and you need to rely on the experts”, according to Gawronski. He succeeded with the support of numerous donations from Chace Lumber, the Partners in Patriotism fund, and the help of his fellow Scouts and families from Troop 32 and the local community. For expertise he relied on local contractors, C Mac of CMac Construction, Don Treannie of Treannie Construction, Peter Hall of Peter Hall Design, Derek Kelley of Hamlin Cabinets, Paul Farmer of Farmer Signs, his uncle Anthony and his Grandfather Antonio Mangiacotti, his Mom and Dad, and his brother Daniel Gawronski who designed the entire kiosk project. Hard work, integrity and mental toughness were critical components to his project. There were many times he would ask himself, “Is this project too big? Will I ever get it done?”
A unique feature of his project was the inclusion of rocks gathered from historic places he has visited over the years. Hidden in the structure are rocks from the Pyramid of the Sun Teotihuacan Mexico, Red Rock State Park Sedona, AZ, Hoover Dam, NV, Jefferson’s Rock Harper’s Ferry, WV, and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation, Las Vegas, NV, along with a rock shaped like a Heart as he felt like he left a piece of himself there after accumulating over 1300 hours of work hours amongst community volunteers, fellow scouts and family.
Gawronski’s efforts were celebrated this past weekend at his Eagle Court of Honor on the grounds where he spent most of his weekends over the last couple of years, the Lane Nature Center. Along with his parents, Michael and Michele Gawronski of Mary Way, also participating in the Court of Honor was his older brother, Daniel, an Eagle Scout with Troop 32 who also completed his Eagle Scout project on the site, a Handicap accessible trail bridge in 2015.
Formally convened by Committee Chair, Amy Spognardi, the Court of Honor was opened by Richard Morani, Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 32, who observed that there are so many activities and interests clamoring for a scout’s attention that it is no surprise that fewer than 5% actually attain the rank.
Connie Gonsalves, Troop 32 Advanced Chair, recalled Gawronski’s numerous adventures, outings at Seabase in the Florida Keys and two National Scout Jamborees in West Virginia in 2013 and 2017 along with a hike along the Niagara Gorge with scouts from Canada.He accumulated 24 merit badges since transitioning from Cub Scouting to Boy Scouting in May 2012, 13 of which were requirements for Eagle rank.
Among those on hand to present citations were state Sen. Paul Feeney, state Rep. Jay Barrows, Bob Boette from the Foxboro Conservation Commission, selectman Chris Mitchell, and former selectman and Lane Nature Center Project Manager Jim DeVellis, who delivered insight and color commentary into Gawronski’s two year journey towards the project completion. One presenter who has been to numerous ceremonies referred to Gawronski’s project as the best one he’s ever seen and his favorite.
Speaking on his own behalf, Gawronski thanked friends and family members, adult scout leaders and those who contributed to his Eagle Scout project. He thanked his father, former Pack 116 Cubmaster and Troop 32 Scoutmaster with a mentor pin along with Paul Gonsalves for being a positive influence on his moral character. Gawronski will be attending Wentworth Institute of Technology in the fall majoring in Computer Science. A reception following the ceremony was held on the observation deck at the site of Gawronski’s Eagle Scout Project, the Lane Nature Center in Foxboro.