Community holds parade for San Joaquin Memorial rugby players and Eagle Scouts

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Only three of 100 Boy Scouts reach the Eagle rank.

San Joaquin Memorial Panthers Stephen Cantelmi, Andrew Vidales, and Mateo Escobar received that honor.

They have been in the same troop since they were in first grade.

Due to COVID-19, they weren't able to attend the traditional court of honor ceremony, so their loved ones held a neighborhood parade.

Teachers, family, friends, and neighbors came to show their support.

Stephen, Mateo and Andrew were greeted with a line of cars.

The rugby players have been balancing practices and Scout meetings for years. Their final season together was cut short and their court honor ceremony postponed.

"It just show that we had a date on the calendar and it didn't work out but they're still super proud of us so they want to rally behind us and really give us that support. It makes me feel really special, and that all my hard work paid off," says Stephen.

Head coach

"We wanted to supportive, we wanted to go to their ceremony today, and when it got cancelled we were pretty disappointed but this is a pretty good alternative the best we can do at this point. I'm sure at some point we'll get together to celebrate them."

The Panthers had to complete 21 merit badges and a community service project to become Eagle Scouts. Their head coach says the character traits they learned in Scouts shows on the field.

"They work well together with others, they pickup the slack when they need to. We got all three when they were sophomores so in just three years they worked their way into the starting line-up."

Each Eagle Scout has to seek out funding for their individualized community service project. It's a task that takes months to complete.

Stephen re-did a courtyard on an area that the Diocese of Fresno owns right next to the cathedral.

Mateo refurbished a pinewood derby track in town while Andrew refurbished the pews in the choir loft at Saint Anthony's Catholic Church.
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