Brookline Boy Scout earns Eagle rank

BROOKLINE – Christian Santoski, a member of Boy Scout Troop 260, was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout at his Court of Honor at Brookline Community Church.

Eagle Scouts Neal Santoski and Scot Santoski, Christian’s cousins, led him in the Eagle Scout oath and charge and presented him with his Eagle rank. Mark Gath and Lynn Giblin were his project mentors.

Post Cmdr. Dave Larkin and retired Lt. Col. Greg d’Arbonne made a presentation on behalf of the American Legion, the chartering organization for Troop 260.

Congratulatory letters were sent by President Barack Obama; former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush; New Hampshire Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen; Gov. Maggie Hassan; New Hampshire Rep. Ann Kuster; state Sen. Kevin Avard; state Rep. Chris Adams; American entrepreneur and inventor Dean Kamen; NASA; and the Knights of Pythias, among others.

Eagle Scout is the highest rank in Boy Scouting and is a performance-based achievement. Scouts must demonstrate good character; proficiency in leadership, citizenship and service to their church and community; develop outdoor skills at multiple levels; and earn 21 merit badges. Fewer than 5 percent of Boy Scouts earn the Eagle badge.

Santoski earned 24 merit badges and served as patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader and senior patrol leader. He was a member of the Order of the Arrow, participated in more than 100 overnight camping trips and had his patrol recognized twice as a National Honor Patrol.

To attain the rank of Eagle, a Scout must also complete an extensive service project that he plans, organizes, leads and completes before his 18th birthday. Santoski’s project consisted of three major constructed components for the Brookline Conservation Commission: a parking area, kiosk and sign for the Cider Mill Pond Trailhead.

The double-sided sign was hand-routed on pressure-treated cedar. It has a cantilevered design and hand-forged
metalwork, and is mounted on a 30-foot telephone pole set 8 feet in the ground. The sign is removable for long-term maintenance.

The parking lot is a 40- by 60-foot graded gravel area with six head-in parking spaces against eight wooden posts, and includes a driveway. The roofed kiosk marks the beginning of the trailhead and consists of an information board covered by a locked, hinged Lexan cover to protect it from the elements.

The project took two years, 1,500 volunteer hours, $1,500 in material costs and more than $10,000 in donated services to accomplish. It has benefited the community by increasing awareness of the trails, encouraging individuals to explore the 300 acres of conservation land known as the Hobart-Fessenden Woods.

Major donors to the project were Jeff McDonald and Mike Krish, of the New York State Parks System, for the plans for the sign; Don Hoard and Tom Liubakka, of Superior Steel, for the final design and fabrication of the metalwork for the sign; Jerry Farwell for site prep for the parking lot; Buddy Dougherty for the parking posts to refurbish; Granite State Concrete for gravel; Jennings Excavation for delivery; Bentley Management for additional gravel and final spreading; the town of Brookline for the telephone poles; Skillings and Sons for drilling, raising and placement of the sign; and the countless volunteers who participated in more than 50 work parties.

Santoski is a senior at Hollis Brookline High School, and he plans to study engineering in college.

His family includes his parents, Mike and Susan Santoski; his sisters, Teresa and Grace; and his brother and sister-in-law, Mark and Maggie.

In addition to Scouting, Christian enjoys robotics, crew and doing tech for the high school plays.