That’s why, as part of his Eagle Scout project, Ryan decided he wanted to build a memorial as a way to honor Tom and help others in the community with the healing process.
During the school board’s Tuesday meeting, Ryan proposed erecting a bronze memorial of either a life-sized football helmet displaying #54, Tom’s number, or an artist’s rendering of Tom on a plaque.
“There will be a lot of community involvement,” he said. “I hope with everyone’s help we can honor Tom’s memory in a respectful way in which I believe will help the community.”
Ryan said he plans to raise between $10,000 to $15,000 for the memorial by soliciting donations and selling engraved bricks.
The Board of Education approved Ryan’s project with unanimous support and school board member John Zukowski thanked Ryan for his thoughtfulness.
“This is an incredible gesture,” Mr. Zukowski said. “Thank you and good luck.”
Ryan said the next step is consulting with the Cutinella family about his idea, which still needs approval from the Eagle Scouts.
Shoreham-Wading River freshman Ryan Ledda didn’t know SWR football player Tom Cutinella personally. But when Tom, 16, suffered an injury on the football field that led to his death last fall, Ryan was greatly affected by the tragedy.