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Aug 10, 2010 4:51 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton teen builds storage shed for Eagle Scout project

Aug 10, 2010 4:51 PM

Cans, cans everywhere and not a place to store them.

This is what 2010 Southampton High School graduate Jeffrey Joseph Bergenti noticed while he was dispensing food and non-edible gifts at the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church to those in need shortly before Christmas last year for a school community service project.

A member of Boy Scout Troop 58, Mr. Bergenti’s attentive eye turned one good deed into another when he decided to build an outdoor storage shed behind the human resources building at the church on Hill Street in Southampton Village for his Eagle Scout project.

Out of treated wood, the Shinnecock Hills resident constructed a 10-foot-wide, 12-foot-long and 16-foot high storage shed, outfitted with shelves, topped with a shingled roof and two doors, and painted gray with a white trim.

“I noticed everything was piled on the stage of what used to be the auditorium. It looked like there was no storage space,” Mr. Bergenti said. “They were doing a great job, but I thought if they could store things in a shed, it could help 20 more people.” He then asked Mary Ann Tupper, head of human resources, and Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Pastor the Reverend Jeffrey J. Madley for permission to build the shed.

“They said yes and were pretty happy,” the new Eagle Scout remembered.

Mr. Bergenti estimated that he raised about $600 from a bake sale at the Southampton United Methodist Church, where the Boy Scouts are based. He also received donations from Russell Nill, the owner of a local roofing company, Russell H. Nill Inc. in Southampton, Riverhead Building Supply, Water Mill Lumber and Jay Andreassi of Pert Construction Corp. in Water Mill.

The most difficult part of the process, he noted, was completing the required paperwork and submitting it to the Suffolk County Boy Scouts of America in time. Mr. Bergenti started his project on February 11, so he had precious little time to complete his work before his 18th birthday on March 9.

The paperwork had to be at the county Boy Scouts headquarters in Medford by 4 p.m. the day before a scout turns 18, Mr. Bergenti said. “I got there at 3:30.”

A scout since he was in fifth grade, Mr. Bergenti offered this advice to other aspiring Eagles: “If you’re looking to become an Eagle, don’t wait until the last minute; it’s a long, difficult process, but very worth it in the end.”

Mr. Bergenti’s project advisor, Tim Behringer, heaped praise on the young man. “It benefits a nonprofit and multiple other people, and Mary Ann was in bad need of that storage,” the assistant scout master said. “He’s just such a good kid. He’s good to work with and a good leader in our troop who gives direction to the younger boys.”

Having officially earned his wings as an Eagle at a ceremony at the Methodist Church on July 25, Mr. Bergenti is now preparing to spread his wings and move onto campus at Hobart College in upstate Geneva on the Finger Lakes on August 22. Mr. Bergenti, said he is considering majoring in pre-law or a related subject. This summer he has been working as a traffic control officer for the Southampton Town Police, patrolling Bridgehampton, Hampton Bays and Water Mill, as well as checking permits at some beaches in Hampton Bays and Water Mill.

“I’ve had to respond to some calls and I’m enjoying it a lot. It’s the first job I actually enjoy waking up to in the morning,” he said.

His storage shed will help others for years to come, but Mr. Bergenti said he is focused on continuing to lend a helping hand far into the future.

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Jeff is a great young adult; and I am proud he is a part of our community. Best of luck and much happiness and success at Hobart, Jeff.
By Mrs.Sea (265), Sag Harbor on Aug 19, 10 9:05 AM
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