VFW Post 8507’s Scout of the Year
Holliston VFW Post 8507 held its VFW Scout of the Year Award ceremony outdoors behind its post on Woodland Street last Tuesday, July 28th. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, those in attendance were limited to only a few: post-level Scout of the Year and Holliston High School graduating senior, Jonathan Lukowiak; Jonathan’s parents, Teresa and James; Charlie Paradie, Jon’s Scout Master since Jon first entered scouting in kindergarten; and Post Commander Dave Deganne, Post Chaplain Ron Turcotte, and Post member Charlie Jacobs, who led the effort to get qualifying scouts to apply, and Post member Paul Deschenes, representing the Holliston Reporter.
Despite its ties to scouting dating back to 1915 when a VFW post in the state of Washington helped with the establishment of Troop 1, the VFW instituted its Scout of the Year Award fairly recently–in 2001. The award is one of many offered by the VFW as a result of its mission to have strong bonds to community. Its purpose is to acknowledge and value “standout citizenship, patriotism and love of country.” The first place national prize is a $5,000 scholarship.
To be eligible for Scout of the Year, applicants must have earned an Eagle Scout, Girl Scout Gold, Venture Summit or Sea Scout Quartermaster Award. They must be active members of a Boy or Girl Scout Troop, a Venturing Crew, or a Sea Scout Ship; and they must display exemplary citizenship in school, scouting and community. Post-level winners advance to District, and district-level winners advance to Department (state). Department-level winners proceed to National. According to the VFW website, this year’s National winner is a Venturing Summit Award and Gold Girl Scout Award recipient working toward her Eagle Scout. She hails from Missouri. So you can see Jon was up against some stiff competition.
When asked to describe her son, Jon’s mother said he is “an awesome kid.” His father seconded that sentiment. As mentioned, Jonathan has been in scouting since kindergarten. He is a member of Troop 14. In addition to playing varsity soccer, Jon said he also enjoys the more solitary pursuit of hiking, which has led him to photography and into a deeper relationship with “the spiritual side of things.” Spending three weeks volunteering in Peru last summer helped open his eyes to how vast and varied our human experience is. He will be attending RPI in the fall where he intends to pursue sustainability, which according to the environmentalscience.org website is “a broad discipline, giving students and graduates insights into most aspects of the human world,” especially in relation to “reducing carbon emissions and [the discovery and development of] technologies of the future.”