Chester Troop 139 hosted an Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony to recognize James Gause, Chase Mantione, Brian Testa and Collin Testa. All four Scouts, who are 2018 West Morris Mendham High School graduates, were presented with BSA’s highest honor, the Eagle Scout Award. To earn the award, a Scout must be active with a troop, earn a minimum of 21 merit badges, assume a position of leadership in a troop and complete a service project that benefits the community. Chester Borough Mayor Janet Hoven and Theresa Tobin (representing NJ State Assemblyman Anthony Bucco) both attended the ceremony and presented the boys with commendations.
As a member of Troop 139, James Gause held many leadership positions including Patrol Leader, Scribe and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, along the way earning 29 merit badges. During his time as a Scout, James participated in many high adventure activities. He hiked and canoed the mountains and lakes of Northern Maine, backpacked through the southern Rockies of New Mexico and Philmont Scout Ranch and skied the slopes of the North East. Given his passion for the outdoors, it is only fitting that for his Eagle Scout Service Project, James coordinated the clearing and expansion of trails in the Evans Family Forest Preserve in Chester. As part of this effort, he and his fellow scouts installed hundreds of trail markers throughout the park and worked with town officials to ensure that his work and corresponding trail maps reflected the trails accurately.
James is a freshman at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, where he is studying environmental science. He is a trumpet player in the Rutgers Marching Scarlet Knights Pep Band.
Chase Mantione has been active in Troop 139 for many years serving as patrol leader and instructor and earning 27 merit badges. Scouting has provided Chase with many opportunities for adventure, his favorite being the 2 weeks he spent at Philmont Scout Ranch, backpacking in the mountains of New Mexico, during which time he served as crew leader. For his Eagle Scout Service Project, Chase cleared and marked the Cattle Tunnel Trail connecting the Luce and Tiger Brook properties in Chester Township. Due to natural weathering, the tunnel had become filled with silt and water and overgrown with foliage. Chase and his volunteers cleared out the tunnel, installed a path of stepping-stones and remarked the trail, making it easier for hikers to navigate the area.
Chase is a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is majoring in neuroscience and plans to attend medical school, with the goal of one day becoming a surgeon.
Brian Testa has served as a youth leader in Troop 139 for many years in roles spanning Troop Guide, Patrol Leader and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. He also continues to volunteer as a staff member with the National Youth Leadership Training Program, a BSA program that helps develop the next generation of Boy Scouts looking to serve in leadership roles. Some of Brian’s favorite memories during his time as a Scout include attending the 2013 National Jamboree in West Virginia, sailing in the Bahamas at BSA’s Sea Base and backpacking at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. For Brian’s service project, he and his group of volunteers constructed and installed a fire pit, along with a number of benches for seating at MacGregor Field Preserve in Chester. It is because of Brian’s leadership that this area now has a safe and secure way to enjoy campfires.
Brian is a freshman at County College of Morris and is studying Criminal Justice. He plans to attend Rutgers University to complete his Bachelor’s Degree.
Collin joined Troop 139 in 2011 and has served in a number of leadership roles, which have included Patrol Leader, Troop Guide and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. Collin’s love of the outdoors has been strengthened by many opportunities for adventure that Scouting has provided him. In recent years, he attended the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, climbed Mt. Katahden in Northern Maine, and hiked the mountains of New Mexico during his trip to Philmont Scout Ranch. As an avid hiker and someone who frequently walks the local trails of Chester, Collin chose to help bring much needed improvements to the trails of Evans Family Preserve in Chester. He, along with a number of other Scouts, built and installed eighty feet of puncheons (elevated boardwalks) over a section of trails that will help prevent erosion of the landscape and keep fellow hikers out of the mud. In addition, he also provided seating along a stream in the Preserve by building a picnic table and a bench. Collin is studying engineering at County College of Morris.