With family, friends and community members present, Palmetto Bay Troop 711 honored Daniel Alayo and Daniel Gitlin who earned Eagle Scout, the highest rank possible in the Boy Scouts.
The Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony was conducted on Sunday, July 30, at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.
Because less than 4 percent of the Boy Scouts in the United States fulfill all the necessary requirements to become Eagles Scouts, it is an honor that both Alayo and Gitlin, along with their loved ones, cherish.
“I have worked for a really long time, and it was nice because many people showed up who I did not expect to show up, which shows their support,” said Alayo, a 17-year-old entering his sophomore year at Georgia Tech.
Gitlin expressed similar sentiments about the community’s involvement in the ceremony.
“I am just as excited as Daniel. This ceremony is a culmination of everything we’ve done,” said Gitlin, 17, who is entering his senior year at Terra Environmental Research Institute. “It’s really awesome how the whole community came out to support us.”
To become Eagle Scouts Alayo and Gitlin earned 21 merit badges, served actively for more than six months in a leadership position after becoming Life Scouts, carried out a community service project, and appeared before a board of review, which determined they fulfilled the requirements to become Eagle Scouts.
During the ceremony, Commissioner Daniela Levine-Cava recognized the Eagle Scouts’ years of dedication and service to the community followed by presentations by family members.
Alayo’s father, Juan Alayo, thanked everyone who helped Daniel along the way and talked about his son’s accomplishments, including his community service project, which helped restore Matheson Hammock Marina, before he went to attend Georgia Tech University at the age of 16.
“I knew then in supporting his journey, I would be able to spend more time with him, which I otherwise would not be able to do,” Alayo’s father said. “At this time, I would like to thank all the adult leaders who have mentored Daniel throughout the years, in particular Mr. Casco, who I know Daniel looks up to as a mentor and a friend.”
Gitlin’s grandfather then honored his grandson.
“I have been around a long time, but after having heard the resumes of these two young men, I don’t think mine would be that long,” Gitlin’s grandfather said.
Alayo’s older brother, who also is an Eagle Scout, reaffirmed every Eagle Scout’s oath. Gitlin’s mother and Alayo’s parents then presented Eagle Scout badge and certificate to their children. The Eagle Scouts then in turn presented their parents with pins.
The ceremony concluded by reading some letters from political leaders such as: President George H.W. Bush, U.S. Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, among others.
The recognition was a special feeling for both Eagle Scouts but their learning experience over the years is the most valuable aspect of the journey towards earning the top honor.
“They have taught me basically everything I have known about life skills,” Gitlin said. “This is where I learned so much from plumbing to how to become a leader. I hope my Eagle Scout values not only help me make it to a good college but also helps me in my professional career to be a good leader and politician.”
In addition to leadership skills, Alayo noted how becoming an Eagle Scout will help him become a better person in the future.
“The values they instill in you make you a productive member of society. It is like a school for values,” Alayo said. “The experience and the leadership experience is getting to know how to lead. In college, I have been able to become involved on campus. I won’t benefit from the title alone, but the title is a symbol of everything I have learned here.”