Richland teen recognized for Stations of the Cross project that earned him Eagle Scout rank
Dominic Hite, 17, of Richland grew up among Eagle Scouts.
His father, maternal grandfather and six uncles all received the Boy Scouts of America's highest honor.
Hite, a junior at Aquinas Academy in Hampton, received his Eagle Award during a court of honor at 2 p.m. Dec. 6 at Memorial Park Church in McCandless.
About 100 people attended the ceremony, including three generations of Eagle Scouts from three states.
Guests also included Leslie Mitros, head of school at Aquinas Academy, where Hite recently led efforts to erect the Stations of the Cross — a series of 14 depictions of Jesus Christ's final hours — on a steep hill leading to the academy's athletic field.
After clearing a 5-foot swath of brush from the hill, Dominic and helpers used a rented auger to dig holes for the Stations' 8-foot cedar posts.
“We had to go down 18 inches for each,” Dominic said. “We put them in cement as well.”
At the Stations' summit, Dominic installed a cedar bench and large cross in a raised bed of rose bushes enclosed by terraced walls of paving stones.
“The majority of the stones were transported by wheelbarrow,” Dominic said, recalling all the uphill hauls he made in August.
Dominic, a member of Boy Scout Troop 329 at Memorial Park Church, is the son of Jennifer Hite and James Hite, and one of six siblings; Olivia, 17 — Dominic's twin sister; Anthony, 15, a Boy Scout at the Star rank; Isabella, 10; Francesca, 8; and Angelina, 3.
“We're very proud of him,” said Jennifer Hite, 43.
Dominic's father, James Hite, 44, became an Eagle Scout in 1988 for constructing and installing footbridges on walking trails at Fort Roberdeau in Blair County, an historical park with a fort constructed in 1778 during the Revolutionary War to protect local lead mines and smelting operations.
Dominic's maternal grandfather, Patrick Jones, 71, of Altoona, Blair County, received his Eagle Award in 1959 before award requirements included completing a community service project.
Six Eagle Award-winning siblings of Dominic's parents also attended their nephew's court of honor.
• Uncle Adam Jones, 39, of Peters Township, received his Eagle Award after building three wheelchair-accessible raised garden beds at a home for U.S. military veterans in Hollidaysburg, Blair County.
• Uncle Dr. Scott Jones, 46, of Haddonfield, N.J., received his Eagle Award for cleaning out and transforming a storage room into an activities room at Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church in Altoona, Blair County.
• Uncle Patrick Jones II, 47, of Plymouth, Minn., received his Eagle Award for leading efforts by members of three local Boy Scout troops to canvass three Altoona neighborhoods and collect donations for the American Heart Association.
• Uncle Raphael Hite, 36, of Altoona received his Eagle Award for organizing the cleanup of an overgrown lot around a long-vacant building purchased by Blair County Historical Society.
• Uncle Jeremy Hite of York County received his Eagle Award for building an observation deck and short trail to a cave entrance at Fort Roberdeau.
• Uncle Vincent Hite, 40, of Altoona received his Eagle Award for helping to frame and hang drywall in a Habitat for Humanity home in Blair County.
Other guests at Dominic Hite's court of honor included the Rev. Tom Sparacino, pastor of St. Richard Roman Catholic Church in Richland, where Dominic's family are parishioners; and family friend the Rev. Jean-Luc Zadroga of St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Westmoreland County.
“Most people drove in,” Jennifer Hite said about the crowd of relatives who attended her son's court of honor, which included a reception, featuring a Giant Eagle sheet cake and 35 dozen cookies baked by the new Eagle Scout's mom.
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369.