Since the age of seven, Sean McCabe, a Boy Scout from troop 208 at St. Therese De Lisieux Parish in Boynton Beach, has been working his way through the ranks to the level of Eagle Scout. This ranking is the highest honor a scout can receive and demands that certain criteria be met. These include earning at least 21 merit badges, demonstrating scout spirit based upon the Scout Oath and Law, embodying the principals of service and being an example of leadership. These requirements culminate in a service project, which the scout plans, leads and manages.
For McCabe, however, the service project is more than achieving the honor of Eagle Scout. “I come from a long family history of military and law enforcement. My father is a Sheriff Deputy and my mother is a retired police officer. With their sacrifices of service in mind, I wanted my Eagle Scout project to be something that honors the men and women who serve our country,” said McCabe.
Inspired by this idea, McCabe contacted Thomas Jordan, an administrator at Our Lady Queen of Peace Cemetery in Royal Palm Beach, to begin planning a memorial statue that would honor fallen service men and women in time for Memorial Day 2019. With Jordan’s help McCabe raised $6,000 in donations, and contributions from the cemetery build the statue. McCabe then collaborated with Audrey Mohammed, a fellow member of the scout’s home parish youth group at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, to design the statue. With guidance from professional artists at Tile Artisans in High Springs, Fla., McCabe and Mohammed finalized the images of a first responder and firefighter under the protective gaze of Jesus Christ.
What drew McCabe to construct a statue at the cemetery is his deep connection to his Catholic faith. He is very active in his home parish, assisting in numerous ministries and faith formation courses. McCabe’s father is a member of the Knights of Columbus, whose 30 plus years in law enforcement serve testament to the legacy of helping others he passes on to his son. The most meaningful part about this project for McCabe was his desire to provide a permanent source of comfort to those grieving the loss of a loved one who was a first responder. “The statue is made of granite, a lasting stone, that will be a beacon of hope to those in grief. When people look at the statue, they will find comfort in knowing that their loved one is in God’s presence,” said McCabe.
The statue was installed at a special ceremony on May 18. Reverend Julian P. Harris, pastor of St. Thomas More Parish, blessed the statue following a procession of the honor guards from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue. The memorial is located at the front entrance of the cemetery, where visitors are welcomed to sit at the foot of the statue. A Bible verse arches over the image of Christ: “Therefore shall they receive the splendid crown, the beauteous diadem, from the hand of the Lord. For he will shelter them with his right hand, and protect them with his arm” (Wisdom 5:16).
Now that he has achieved the ultimate honor of Eagle Scout, McCabe turns to the next chapter in his life. He will attend Palm Beach State College in the fall as a business major, but continue to be involved in the Boy Scouts. “My time as a Boy Scout has been the most invaluable experience. I’ve developed life skills applicable to situations outside wilderness survival. It’s molded me into the man I am today,” reflected McCabe.
To learn more about the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, visit nccs-bsa.org. Follow St. Therese De Lisieux Parish scout troop 208’s projects and achievements at sttherese-church.org/parish-ministries.
Through scholarship assistance from the Diocese of Palm Beach, Sean McCabe participated in the Saint George Trek, the National Catholic Committee on Scouting’s high adventure Catholic leadership program for older Catholic Boy Scouts and Venture Crew members at Philmont Scout Ranch. The program brings Catholic high school youth from around the country together with selected priests, religious and seminarians for eleven days of backpacking in the context of a vocation retreat.
After completing an extensive series of religious activities and scouting projects on the trek, McCabe received the Pope Pius XII religious emblem. The emblem’s program focuses on different life choices (single, married, religious, ordained), occupations and ministries in the Church. It includes youth-led discussions on current issues facing the Church and society in context with vocational callings.