Eagle Scout Brings Lifesaving Devices to Little Silver

March 29, 2017
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Eagle Scout Jack McNally, center, with Scouts Eric Olsen (left) and Craig Scharmann at the Firehouse Field in Little Silver where they installed an AED lifesaving device.

By Jenna O’Donnell |

LITTLE SILVER – A well-placed automated external defibrillator, or AED, can save a life. Now, thanks to the work of one aspiring Eagle Scout, Little Silver has four more of them on recreation fields across the borough.

“We raised money around town to install AEDs on four different recreational fields around our town,” said Jack McNally, a 17-year old senior at Red Bank Regional High School, who took this on as part of his Eagle Scout Service Project. In several weeks of fundraising with local businesses, he raised $5,000 to purchase four AEDs for his community.

Last weekend, McNally braved the cold weather to install the new AEDs on the Challenger, Sickles, Firehouse and Borough Fields, with help from fellow Red Bank Troop 87 scouts Eric Olsen and Craig Scharmann, Scout leader and contractor Chris Scharmann, and two recreation department supervisors, AJ McNally and Doug Glassmacher.

McNally credits Glassmacher, head of Little Silver’s recreational program, for inspiring him to pursue the project and sponsoring his efforts. While AEDs are already installed at several public places in the borough, including inside all the schools, McNally said these are the first ones to be installed outdoors.

“We drove around with (Glassmacher) to scope out the fields and decided on the four fields where there was the most human traffic,” McNally said. “We wanted it to be accessible, where the most people will be.”

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Once locations were chosen and the borough council was on board, the hard part came next, according to McNally. He needed to come up with the funds.

AEDs don’t come cheap. One of the devices typically costs between $1,200 and $2,500, which is why they aren’t always installed in all the places where sudden cardiac arrest might occur. Luckily, businesses in town were happy to support McNally’s effort.

“Raising the money was definitely the hardest part,” McNally said. “But when I explained my project to these companies, they usually just wrote me a check.”

Donations from Contemporary Motor Cars, Viscon Builders, the Kelly Cohen Foundation and Fastfort Passport helped McNally raise the $5,000 needed to purchase AEDs, provided at a discounted rate by Lifesavers, a southern New Jersey company. In addition to the discount, Bob Stickle at Lifesavers also trained recreation coaches to make sure they would be able to use the devices should they need to.

While Eagle Scout Service Projects are performed for the benefit of the community, McNally said the support of his community was what made it possible. He credits all the businesses, borough officials, fellow scouts and friends who helped him complete it.

McNally, who will be studying science and mathematics at Northeastern University next year, hopes the AEDs he helped to install will be put to good use.

“If a situation occurred on one of our fields, hopefully that would lead to someone’s life being saved,” he said. “Which would be really cool.”

This article was first published in the March 23-30, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.

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