Whitestone teen collects hundreds of supplies for U.S. troops in final Eagle Scout project

Photos by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS

A 15-year-old Whitestone resident will receive the Boy Scouts’ highest honor after leading a community project that will impact countless U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.

Peter Zirillo collected hundreds of supplies for active duty troops actively serving in the Middle East. The bulk of the items were various toiletries, as well as socks, gum and candy and writing supplies.

The community service project was Zirillo’s final requirement to become an Eagle Scout, the Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank. Since the Eagle Scout award was established in 1912, just 2.01 percent of eligible Scouts have earned the honor, according to Scouting Magazine.

Zirillo, who belongs to local Troop 235, organized a drive in coordination with St. Mel Parish and spread the word by posting flyers in his community. The teen then collected hundreds of supplies at the church on 154th Street in June and, with the help of his family, spent days packing up the supplies in boxes.

Mom Felicia Zirillo said the teen also raised about $1,300, which he used to shop for additional supplies at local wholesale stores.

“I’m really proud of him,” Felicia Zirillo said. “He’s a very hard worker and very organized and he really wanted to do something to give back.”

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On June 29, Zirillo and his family handed the supplies over to representatives from the 361st Public Affairs Operations Center in Fort Totten. Assemblymen Ed Braunstein and Ron Kim offered a helping hand during the process.

Zirillo, who will be a sophomore at Archbishop Molloy High School in the fall, said he started out as a Cub Scout with the organization at age 8. He said he will be officially instated as an Eagle Scout by the end of the summer.

“It’s the highest rank in the Boy Scouts, so basically it’s been my end goal,” Zirillo said. “To me, that’s what I wanted to do from a young age. It shows people that you have leadership skills and that you’re able to get things done.”

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