Newly minted Eagle Scout Matthew Hulse had a very special guest at his award ceremony Friday.
Matthew’s great-grandmother, 102-year-old Louise Hulse was in the front row to watch him reach the highest Boy Scout rank at the Cooperstown Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, where she lives.
“I’m very proud of him,” Louise said with a smile.
Matthew said the ceremony’s location at the Cooperstown Center was deliberate.
“I wanted her to be able to be here and witness it,” the 18-year-old said. “As someone who was born in 1917, for context, the amount of sheer historical events she’s lived through and been a part of is just astonishing to me, and it’s priceless. So it was really important to me that in her lifetime, she got to see me receive Eagle.”
Louise, a former French teacher, is a graduate of Hartwick College with a master’s degree from Syracuse University. Community service runs in the family; Louise said she was a Girl Scout when she was younger. Matthew’s uncle, Alan Lotito, also achieved Eagle Scout status with Louise there to support him, Lotito said.
Matthew said his Eagle Scout project involved a detailed cleaning of the inside of the Fly Creek Historical Society, including making sure the artifacts in most of the display cases stayed in pristine condition.
Matthew studies interactive media and game design at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Before moving away for college, Matthew said he would join his family every Sunday for a homemade dinner, prepared by his mother, with Louise at Cooperstown Center.
Matthew’s scoutmaster, Rob Bohm, said he’s been with him throughout his scouting tenure.
“When they get the opportunity to achieve something so great, I know the door opens wide for them to take those chances, to have the fortitude,” Bohm said. “And that’s where I get my reward, seeing them mature into that Eagle Scout.”
Matthew’s father, Rick Hulse, said he’s proud of his son’s commitment to his Eagle Scout project and things he’s accomplished with his troop, including hiking the Grand Canyon twice.
Louise was joined by at least 35 others, including Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, who came to witness Matthew’s ceremony. State Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, sent a proclamation in support.
Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7221.