CRANBURY: Eagle Scout project gives police a space of their own


Michael Gonzalez

By Mike Morsch, Regional Editor
Michael Gonzalez was attending a National Night Out event hosted by the Cranbury Police Department when it occurred to him that he wanted to do something to help the local police department.
He was starting to think about his Eagle Scout project and the National Night Out event had exposed him to the many attributes that the town’s law enforcement brought to the community.
“The officers go above and beyond the call of duty, and for that, not only myself but the entire community of Cranbury really look up to the police for their dedicated and caring service,” said Gonzalez, 17, a Cranbury resident who attends Princeton High School. “No matter how big or how small, I knew I wanted to do something for the Cranbury Police force.”
Later that same evening, Gonzalez spoke with Cranbury Police Chief Rickey Varga, who invited the teen and his father to tour the police station at a later date. It was on that day that the Eagle Scout’s vision became clear to him.
“Toward the end of our tour, Chief Varga brought us out into this empty lot. He mentioned that besides the break room, the officers didn’t have a place in the station to just relax and take a minute. The light bulb then went off in my head.”
Gonzalez’s idea was to build an area in the empty lot, a patio area of sorts, where the officers could enjoy a break outside.
Chief Varga agreed and the Eagle Scout project was off and running.
Because Gonzalez had to balance the project with school work and other responsibilities, it took about a year to plan and another year to complete. But the Cranbury officers got their patio, which helped Gonzalez achieve his Eagle Scout rank. The physical work for the patio was completed in November 2016. The groundbreaking for the patio area, which includes a small plaque, was held in September 2017, after Gonzalez achieved his rank of Eagle Scout.
“I worked with Michael and watched this project progress from conception through completion,” said Chief Varga. “The officers are very grateful and appreciative of Michael’s efforts and we of course want to thank and congratulate him on this amazing achievement. Michael’s Eagle Scout project is now forever part of the Cranbury Police Department.”
Gonzalez takes plenty of satisfaction in a job well done and that his project helped give something back to the police department and the community.
“A lot of the officers have told me how useful the patio has been and they can sit down and appreciate the outdoors and enjoy themselves,” said Gonzalez. “Just seeing the culmination of everything that I’ve learned through my years with this extraordinary organization was extremely gratifying to say the least.”