Before he heads to the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland this fall, there was one piece of business Mike Jensen wanted to take care of: becoming an Eagle Scout.
Jensen reached that plateau during a special ceremony at St. James Methodist Church in Lynbrook on March 21.
“It feels like something that wasn’t just given to me,” Jensen said. “It’s something I earned and I feel satisfied having done it.”
Jensen, 18, a Lynbrook resident, is a senior at Kellenberg Memorial High School and will study airspace engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. starting in the fall.
For his Eagle Scout project, Jensen decided to plant a garden at his church, Our Lady of Lourdes in Malverne. Jensen said he spends a lot of time at the church and wanted to do something that the clergy and the parishioners could enjoy. After speaking with Father Duffy, a pastor at the church, Jensen said he discovered that the grounds could use a garden, and that’s what he set out to do.
“It made me feel like I’ve done something to change my community and improve it,” he said. “I was satisfied with it.”
Jensen joined the Cub Scouts when he was 7 and went on to become a Boy Scout. He said he has a fondness for the outdoors and various camping trips gave him the drive to remain in his troop. He even began working as a staff member at a Boy Scouts summer camp upstate, he added.
In addition to Boy Scouts, Jensen is also a decorated Lynbrook wrestler. He began competing in the Lynbrook Titans Wrestling Program when he was 8, and placed second in the Catholic State Tournament this year and finished in third place the year before. His older brother, Marty, was a state champion.
“I’m so proud of Mike for his accomplishments both on and off the mat and I’m excited for his future serving our country at Annapolis,” said Hilary Becker, who heads the Titans program. “While I knew he had potential to be a great wrestler, it made sense to me that he would go on to achieve the highest honor of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts.”
Becker said that by serving his country, Jensen is following in the footsteps of another former Titans wrestler, Justin Gill, who recently returned from a military mission in Afghanistan.
Jensen said he was torn between joining the Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps., but thought the Naval Academy was the best way to receive an education while serving his country.
“I really wanted to serve for a long time because of what the scouts has taught me,” he said. “It made me want to give back to my country.”