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Hastings Teen Saves American Legion With Eagle Scout Project

Zak Armacost (right) hands over the keys to Admiral Farragut Post 1195 to Post Commander James Pasanello
Zak Armacost (right) hands over the keys to Admiral Farragut Post 1195 to Post Commander James Pasanello Photo Credit: Richard Saunderson

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- After learning in the local news that the Hastings-on-Hudson's American Legion Post was struggling financially, Zak Armacost rallied his own troops and made sure his local veterans were taken care of.

The 17-year-old Hastings-on-Hudson High School senior handed the keys to the Admiral Farragut Post 1195 back over to local veterans Tuesday, Veterans Day after renovating its lower level.

“It was really nice to see the reaction of the veterans,” Armacost said. “They were all so happy and appreciative, so their reactions really made me feel like I actually did something worthwhile.”

Armacost’s fellow Boy Scouts in Troop 2, Hastings-on-Hudson’s Cub Scout Pack 1, his family, neighbors and friends all helped put in more than 450 work hours and raised more than $4,000 in the last 10 weeks.

Armacost’s gang repainted the lower level, repaired two restrooms, re-tiled and installed new fixtures and rebuilt cabinetry and shelving.

“I’m an ex-Boy Scout myself and I always did favors when I had the opportunity, so when I heard they wanted to do this I was thrilled,” said Post Commander James Pasanello, a Worlw War II veteran.

Pasanello was required to learn Morse code as a Boy Scout, which eventually led to him to becoming a radio operator during his service in the U.S. Army.

“I really love these kids; they are really goods kids,” said Pasanello, who is almost 90. “They work so hard, and their parents are just as nice.”

Armacost, who started as a Bear Cub in Hastings’ Pack 1 in 2005, chose the American Legion repairs as his Eagle Scout project because he “thought it’d be awesome to give back to the veterans” and to learn the skills necessary to renovate a home.

“My favorite part of the project was seeing other people have fun with it,” said Armacost, who is applying to colleges and considering a career in medicine. “To see other people smiling as they repaired a wall or lay down some tile was really special.”

Richard Saunderson, Troop 2’s Scoutmaster, said this project is what Scouting is all about.

“Zak deserves credit,” Saunderson said. “Yes, the troop guides and supports him, but the leadership is his."

"Everyone should recognize that Scouting stresses not just outdoor skills and community service, but developing leaders who can organize others, think on their feet, and run the show.”

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