Locals Achieve Eagle Rank
Three Crescenta Valley youths have earned the rank of Eagle Scout.
John Daniel Hales, a 15-year-old sophomore at Crescenta Valley High School, is a member of Troop 390, associated with the La Crescenta Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hales is a member of Charismatics Chamber Choir and the water polo team at CVHS.
Having served as senior patrol leader, Hales earned 24 merit badges and camped in excess of 50 nights in the High Sierras, San Gabriel Mountains, Camp Emerald Bay and Camp Whitsitt. A highlight for him was his experience at the Philmont Scout Ranch, where he spent two weeks hiking more than 110 miles in the rugged terrain of Northern New Mexico.
For his Eagle project Hales led his fellow Scouts in transforming a room at Mountain Avenue Elementary School into a greatly needed storage facility for musical instruments. Hales oversaw the process from acquiring funding to cabinet design and installation, and chose this project because of the years he enjoyed in Mountain Avenue’s instrumental music program.
A significant aspect of Scouting for Hales has been affiliating with the other Scouts in his troop, who share his values and have become his close friends.
Robert Forest Menke of La Crescenta has made life a little brighter for foster children who meet their parents for supervised visits at Los Angeles County’s MacLaren Children’s Center. Because of Menke, these children and their families may now move their meetings from the grim industrial rooms that were their only option a few months ago to a bright, comfortably furnished, play and family room that he refurbished for his recent Eagle project.
To renovate the MacLaren room, Menke led a team of Boy Scouts and adults in painting and decorating the room, laying a rug and furnishing it with couches, a dining table, a foosball table, television, VCR, piano, a collection of movies and a bookcase full of children’s books and toys. Menke personally solicited the donations and raised the necessary money by organizing and implementing a fundraising golf tournament. Within days of the room’s completion, a signup list for its use was created because so many clients wanted to use it.
Menke is a junior at Crescenta Valley High School where he is involved in the water polo and swim programs. During his Scouting career, he has spent over 50 nights camping and has hiked over 400 miles. During the summers of 2009 and 2011, he attended Philmont Scout Ranch, where he spent two weeks each trip hiking the rugged terrain of Northern New Mexico. He is a member of Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s National Honor Society.
Menke continues living the Scout spirit, having contributed over 100 service hours towards achieving the Crescenta Valley High School’s service award.
Scout Sam Catalfamo of Troop 390, Verdugo Hills Council, recently gave a leg up to disabled equestrians at Pasadena’s Move A Child Higher (MACH 1) when he presented them with his Eagle project: a 16-foot long mounting block and ramp that allows riders to ascend either stairs at one end or a ramp at the other to a four-foot-high platform in the middle, where assistants help riders mount and dismount their horses with relative ease. MACH 1 offers equine therapy to disabled children and disabled American veterans.
During his time as a Boy Scout, Catalfamo developed a great love for the outdoors. With his troop, he has spent more than 55 nights camping and has hiked more than 380 miles. He, too, was elected to the Order of the Arrow, and has attended Philmont Scout Camp twice, once completing a 90-mile backpacking trip and once completing a 110-mile backpacking trip through the mountains.
Catalfamo is a sophomore at Crescenta Valley High School where he is a member of the water polo and swim teams. He is keenly interested in science and art, and he volunteers three Saturdays a month at the Aquarium of the Pacific, informing visitors about the creatures they see and feel in the facility’s touch tanks. He intends to study biology in college and to continue drawing the animals that interest him so much. He has donated nearly 200 hours of volunteer service to the community.
Hales, Menke and Catalfamo will be recognized for achieving the rank of Eagle, the highest rank in Boy Scouts, at an Eagle Court of Honor on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in La Crescenta.