Fraternal twins Patrick and Michael Andes pretty much knew what direction they wanted to go in their lives from an early age. They joined the Cub Scouts when they were in elementary school and the Boy Scouts when they were 12.
They stuck with it, earning merit badges and taking on leadership roles. This month, in the culmination of their Scouting careers, both became Eagle Scouts in Troop 221 in Manorville after they successfully completed their community projects near their family home in Riverhead. The Court of Honor ceremony was held Aug. 9 at the Manorville Fire House.
“It feels really good to have come this far,” said Michael, 18. His brother, Patrick, said, “We wanted to do a project for our community, and we completed it. It really feels good.”
As twins, they were always in the same grade and last month, when their senior year at Riverhead High School ended, they graduated during an outdoor ceremony impacted by COVID-19.
Now, they are packing to head off to college. Both will attend Xavier University in Ohio; Patrick will study engineering and physics and Michael will study business finance. They are not sharing a room, however. They’ve done that already.
Their mother, Deanna Andes, describes her sons’ Eagle Scout projects as having dramatically improved an area along Long Island Sound near the family home. “We are right along the Sound, and their beach was at Roanoke Landing. They wanted to give back to the community, which is what an Eagle Scout project is all about.”
Each Eagle Scout project is done solo, while both boys’ efforts complemented each other. Patrick completed an erosion project for a section of Long Island Sound at Reeves Beach, putting up natural netting and planting beach grass to help hold on to the eroding slope. He drew up the plans, contacted businesses in search of donations for materials, and guided other Scouts in the troop to help do the work.
“The area he covered with beach grasses and indigenous plants covers about 600 square feet.” Ms. Andes said. “This will really help to hold on to the bluff.”
Michael’s project was at Roanoke Landing off Sound Avenue, where under his leadership, tall weeds and invasive plants were trimmed or removed and a new pebble walkway was installed for people to use to get to the beach. A new bench was also added.
“It has turned the area around completely,” Ms. Andes said. “It’s attracted families. People are bringing their lunches there and having dinner and wine. Patrick contributed to this project with trash can holders that they built. Each holds 50-gallon drums.”
Both boys completed their projects late last fall — under the Scout rules, the projects had to be done before they turned 18 in January — before COVID-19 shut down the school and they began the challenge of remote learning from home. They look back on their projects with great pride.
“Being an Eagle Scout was something I thought about,“ said Michael. “The area I worked on was a bit rough. It didn’t look very nice. Now it looks really good.”
His goals now? Get to college, do his best, and then this: “I would love to travel the world, to see different cultures. That’s my goal.”
Having grown up in the Sound, Patrick knew his Eagle Scout project would have an environmental purpose to it. “I’ve seen the bluffs slowly erode away and get ugly and no one wanted to spend time there. I wanted it to be a place where people wanted to be,” he said. “It looks really great now.”
As for Patrick’s long-term plans, “I want to major in engineering with a focus on physics and then go to graduate school for aerospace engineering.”
If the past is a prologue, both boys will go far.