March 2, 2007

Legislator Gonsalves Recognizes Howetown Hero

On January 26, 2007, Nassau County Legislator Norma L. Gonsalves bestowed a Citation for Heroism upon Merrick resident, James Sisti. On this evening an Eagle Court of Honor was held for James to elevate him to the rank of Eagle Scout. “I am so proud of the generous and selfless efforts that James has made to help others. He is a role model for all young men and women who want to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Legislator Gonsalves.

For his Eagle Scout Service Project, James decided he wanted to reach out to the people who are still suffering the effects of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi. James came up with an idea to collect donations in the form of Wal-Mart gift cards and distribute them to the victims of Hurricane Katrina who are still struggling to rebuild their lives.

James collected Wal-Mart gift cards from Kellenberg Memorial High School, Saint Martin de Porres School, Sacred Heart School, Sacred Heart Parish, Bellmore Presbyterian Church and Merrick Methodist Church. By the end of the project, James had collected gift cards totaling $5,500.00 in value!

Through the assistance of DHL shipping company, who provided free delivery, James distributed the Wal-Mart gift cards to Saint Stanislaus High School in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi and Brother Martin High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. James also forwarded $1,000.00 worth of the gift cards to a Boy Scout Troop 150 located in New Orleans to put towards replacement of scouting equipment that was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.

Not only was James’ project thoughtful and compassionate, so has been the response. James has received many letters and cards from the recipients of the gift cards thanking him for his efforts and generosity and telling him of the hope it has brought to them. “You are obviously a young man of uncommon focus, desire and persistence,” wrote Scott Thompson, a teacher and basketball coach at Brother Martin High School. “When I received your gift, I was reminded about the inherent goodness that exists in all people…Thank you for inspiring me when there isn’t always much to be inspired about,” stated Michael P. Gulotta, the 8th grade school counselor at Brother Martin High School. Yet another gift card recipient, Dayle Landry, wrote to James to tell him that she forwarded her gift card to another family that she felt needed the assistance even more than she did.

Legislator Gonsalves was proud to attend the Eagle Court of Honor for James and encourages others to take the time to help those in need. “James realized that the suffering caused by Hurricane Katrina is not over yet, and through his ingenuity and actions, he brought a glimmer of hope to the people in Louisiana and Mississippi. I congratulate him on his achievement of Eagle Scout and I am honored to give him this Citation of Honor,” stated Legislator Gonsalves.

Pictured from the left are: Troop 123 Scoutmaster Glenn Gruebel, Nassau County Legislator Norma L. Gonsalves, Eagle Scout James Sisti, his mother Laura, his father James, his sister Deanna, and Eagle Scout Coordinator Don Harris.