From left: Kurtis Kenji Kato, Andrew Shinpei Alexander, Saiah A. Montoya, Justin Tadashi Chu and Takeshi Chavez were recognized as Eagle Scouts at an investiture ceremony on May 14 at L.A. Hompa Hongwangi Buddhist Temple.

On May 14, Nishi Scout Troop 738 at L.A. Hompa Hongwangi Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo recognized eight young men who earned scouting’s highest rank, Eagle Scout.

Due to COVID 19, scout activities were limited; however, these scouts persevered, made steady efforts and attained the rank of Eagle. COVID restrictions did not allow these scouts to be honored with the prestigious award ceremony at the time, but under current CDC guidelines these Eagle Scouts were finally able to be recognized.

Matthew Mayemura, Ryuichiro Nonomura and Bradley Tashiro.

During the Eagle Investiture ceremony, Eagle Scouts Matthew David Mayemura, Andrew Shinpei Alexander, Bradley Kenji Tashiro, Saiah A. Montoya, Takeshi Chavez, Kurtis Kenji Kato, Ryuichiro Nonomura and Justin Tadashi Chu were honored and made the solemn oath to responsibly represent the highest values and impeccable moral character expected of an Eagle Scout, become guides to all others and exemplary citizens of their community.

Andrew Shinpei Alexander was born on Feb. 9, 2002 to Rie Fujie Hashimoto and Randy Alexander. He is currently a sophomore at UC Riverside and pursuing an education degree. He plays Division 1 soccer for the university and plans to eventually play professionally.

He attended Glendale High School, Class of 2020, where he played soccer for two years, then proceeded to play in a different league called Development Academy. This league was considered the #1 youth development soccer league in the country.

He started scouting when he joined Cub Scout Pack 738 as a Tiger Cub in 2013. Cub Scouts introduced him to the joy of outdoor activities. It was exciting to see that most of the people from his age group continued with scouting to the Boy Scouts. He earned the Arrow of Light and officially joined Troop 738 as a scout.

As a Boy Scout, he held a number of positions, including patrol leader, assistant patrol leader, troop quartermaster, and troop scribe.

His favorite outdoor memory in scouting was when the troop went to Hawaii for a summer camp. This trip was so memorable because he got to complete the wilderness survival merit badge with one of his best friends. The experience was intense because they had to make their own shelter and spend the night sleeping in it. After spending the night in this cold and uncomfortable shelter, he remembers thinking to himself that if he can go through this situation, he can accomplish other obstacles that come his way.

Summer Camp was always fun because they had a couple hours each day to do whatever they wanted, whether it was working on merit badges or kayaking in the ocean.

For his Eagle project, with the help of friends, family, and the troop, he built portable soccer goals, painted parking lines, fun games, directional arrows and held a soccer clinic for the students at Nishi Center. He is very passionate about sports and working out. With that being said, he is very grateful that he had the opportunity to teach soccer to these students.

His scouting journey has been long and hard, but definitely worth it. Without the guidance of his mentors, the persistence of his parents, and support from his peers, he would have never been able to achieve the rank of Eagle. His journey has not yet come to an end as he hopes to attend periodic meetings as an ASM.

Matthew David Mayemura was born on June 20, 2001 to Barbara and David Mayemura. He has a younger brother, Michael, who is a First Class Scout in the troop. He is currently a junior at Chapman University, where he is majoring in business administration with a focus in finance and minoring in data analytics. He attended South Pasadena High School, where he graduated in 2019. In high school he played basketball for three years and volleyball for two.

He started with the troop as a Tiger Cub. He was able to make many new friends and progressed through Cub Scouts with them to earn the Arrow of Light. He then proceeded to bridge over with many of his fellow webelo scouts into Boy Scout Troop 738.

Through scouting he was able to create many memories with the boys in the troop with the many camping trips, including summer camps, troop meetings, and Obon festivals that they have had together. As a member of the troop he was fortunate enough to hold a number of positions such as senior patrol leader, troop scribe, and den chief.

His favorite scouting memory has to be the 12-day backpacking trip at the Philmont Scout Reserve, which he was fortunate to be a part of in 2017. During this trip, the crew was faced with many hardships from bad weather to their personal mistakes throughout the journey; however, as they continued to move on they were able to persevere by working together and by learning from their past mistakes. Although they faced many trying times during this trek, it was so memorable as it was a unique experience that he does not think he would have been able to get anywhere else. That shared experience with the few scouts and scoutmasters that were on trek with him is something that he will remember for the rest of his life.

When he was in his senior year of high school he was fortunate enough to work with his mentor, Kenji Oda, along with the other scoutmasters, in order to build modular shelving for Nishi’s Child Development Center. The project involved moving all of the equipment out of the storage room and designing shelving that allowed easy access to all the equipment as well as the pipes and electrical equipment that was in the room. This project allowed him to give back to the Nishi Center, which had enabled him to pursue scouting and make many friends along the way.

He is grateful to everyone that has helped him in his scouting journey. He knows that at times he has been very difficult to work with and he is extremely thankful for everyone that has helped him along the way no matter how small it may seem. He thanks all of his fellow scouts and scoutmasters who have helped him with requirements or taught him the skills he would need not only to attain a certain rank, but to be successful in the future as well. He thanks all of the parents who spend their Friday nights and more to help the troop function and to ensure all of the scouts are able to do everything that they do.

And last but not least, a big thank you to his parents, who were with him every step of the way, supporting him in every way that he needed and ensuring that he completed his long and arduous journey to Eagle up until the very end. He knows that he does not say it enough. but he would not be where he is today without everyone’s support. He hopes that he can pay forward a fraction of everyone’s kindness in the future to help future scouts the same way he has been helped.

Saiah A. Montoya was born April 24, 2003. He is an Eagle Scout of Troop 738. He is currently pursuing a degree in computer science at Cal State Long Beach. He graduated from Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy and Los Angeles Harbor College in 2021 with an Associates of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Associates of Mathematic and Natural Sciences, and Associates of Arts and Humanities, along with his high school diploma.

Outside of school, Saiah played club basketball since the second grade for the Mustangs Organization, and played varsity basketball in high school.

As a member of Nishi Buddhist Church, Saiah participated in Jr. YBA, and took part in many volunteering and community service events/projects for the temple, and continues giving back to his Japanese American community through programs like Kizuna Leadership Nikkei Clubs at Long Beach.

His scouting career began when he joined Cub Scout pack 738 in first grade, where he enjoyed many fun events like Raingutter Regatta, Pinewood Derby, and many outings like Rocket Camp and Silverwood. He then joined Boy Scout Troop 738 in 2014, and created the Lightning Patrol with Bradley Tashiro. Through scouting, Saiah has made many lifelong friends, and has learned lots about what it takes to be a leader.

Many of his most memorable adventures came from scouting, like the 12-day backpacking expedition at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, where he enjoyed rifle shooting, archery, horseback riding, spar pole climbing, and so much more.

For his Eagle project, Saiah constructed a new rolling cabinet/desk for Nishi Child Development Center. Along with the help of his peers, he designed and built the cabinet to help upgrade the front desk and lost-and-found areas. He is very grateful for everyone who helped him with his project, as well as his journey through scouting, and feels it couldn’t have been done without the support from his friends, adult leaders, and family. He is so thankful for all the time and sacrifices that everyone made to support him in his adventure through scouting, which will never be forgotten.

Bradley Kenji Tashiro was born on Nov. 8, 2003 to John and Lisa Tashiro. He has an older brother, Kyle, who also is an Eagle Scout from Troop 738. Bradley graduated from South Pasadena High School and is currently a freshman at UC Santa Cruz majoring in electrical engineering.

His scouting journey began in 2009 as a Tiger Cub in Pack 738. He fondly remembers the weekly den meetings, camping, Raingutter Regatta and the Pinewood Derby. He earned the Metta Award and the Arrow of Light before bridging to Boy Scout Troop 738, where he continued growing, gaining knowledge and improving his skills. He learned leadership through the many positions he held such as patrol leader, troop scribe, quartermaster, assistant senior patrol leader and senior patrol leader.

He was fortunate to try diverse activities varying from rock climbing in Joshua Tree to helping cook an entire pig in an imu at Camp Pupukea in Hawaii, where he was able to earn the Hawaiiana Award. He also earned the Sangha Award through a two-year program led by Rev. Kaz Nakata at Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple.

All these experiences, combined with growth and learning, ultimately led to Bradley planning and implementing his Eagle project. He wanted to help Nishi Child Development Center because of the connection he felt since he attended there many years prior. Nishi Center was in need of a renovation and Bradley’s Eagle project included sanding and painting the upper and lower cabinets in two classrooms as well as sanding and painting the cubby units in the classrooms. The two-day project was completed with Bradley’s leadership and would not have been successful without the hard work and dedication of the entire troop and other volunteers.

He would not be who he is today without the help of troop parents, fellow scouts, ASMs, friends and family. He would like to thank and express appreciation for everyone who helped guide him on this memorable journey. He is especially grateful to the ASMs and Scoutmaster Chavez, who spent countless volunteer hours to help guide him on his scouting path. Lastly, he would like to thank his dad, mom and brother for their constant support.

Takeshi Chavez was born Nov. 19, 2004 in Los Angeles to Matthew and Michi Chavez. He has an older brother, Kotaro, an Eagle Scout who is currently attending Oregon State University. He Is a senior at Eagle Rock High School, where he has prepared himself for the next step of school and life in college.

His scouting career started when he was young as a Cub Scout in Pack 738. It was a great place to make friends and have fun while learning valuable skills. However, becoming a Boy Scout and getting to go on camp-outs and overnights was much better. As a group planning and cooking the next day’s meal, setting up the tent and sleeping in the tent as well as the whole process made the best moments and memories together. Scouting has allowed him to form long-lasting friendships and memories that he will always remember.

Some of his loudest laughs have been in their Nishi meeting room with his fellow scouts. During his time as a Boy Scout, he earned 28 merit badges, the Sangha Award, the Eagle rank along with a Bronze Palm. He held multiple leadership positions like troop guide, senior patrol leader, and troop scribe. His favorite position would be troop guide as he was able to mentor the youngest group of scouts, helping them achieve their next rank.

Some of his favorite memories as a scout would have to be at summer camp. He recalled when they went to Camp Cherry Valley on Catalina Island. One of the merit badges he chose for that week was for small boat sailing and as the week went by, they were learning how to set the boat up, how to tie the dock and things like that. Towards the end of the week, they finally got to go out to the ocean, and it was better than expected. It was windy, they were going fast and before they knew it, the dock was a lot farther away.

For his Eagle project, his family and a group of fellow scouts helped him to build eight signs for Nishi — five stationary signs used to identify parking lots and display information, two smaller stationary signs to direct visitors to Nishi’s office and daycare center, and one foldable rolling sign with multiple uses. He Is thankful for everyone who volunteered their time to help and thankful to Nishi for allowing him to help them.

His scouting journey has been a long ride but nothing short of incredible. The memories and lessons learned will stick with him for the rest of his life. He would like to thank his family, his patrol, the ASMs, and the parents who give their Friday nights to help their community. He Is forever grateful for his experience and journey as a scout. His last thanks would be to his mother and father, who helped him achieve great things.

Kurtis Kato was born in Arcadia on Oct. 3, 2003, to Kristen and Keith Kato. He has a younger sister, Kelsie, who is currently a sophomore at Arcadia High School and is a member of Nishi Girl Scout Troop 12135. 

Kurtis is a senior in the Visual Arts Conservatory at California School of the Arts- San Gabriel Valley. Outside of school, Kurtis is a volunteer for the Assistance League of Arcadia, a member of Jr. YBA at Nishi Hongwanji, and  works selling produce at the Pasadena Farmers’  Market. After graduation, he is excited to attend the University of Oregon, where he will be studying product design.

His scouting career began when he joined Nishi Cub Scout Pack 738 in 2010. As a Cub Scout he received his Arrow of Light and bridged over to Nishi Boy Scout Troop 738 in 2014. While in Boy Scouts, he held several leadership positions such as patrol leader, troop quartermaster, troop guide, and assistant senior patrol leader. All of these positions have helped him to develop his leadership, communication and organization skills.

Scouting has also provided opportunities to experience various activities including camping, hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, fishing and skiing. All of his years of scouting have helped to create lifelong friendships and allowed him to meet many amazing people who have helped to guide him through the years. 

The annual Pinewood Derby was a highlight for Kurtis. He remembers how much he enjoyed designing and creating his cars and then racing them down the ramp. Summer Camp was always amazing because hanging out with his friends and participating in activities like kayaking and rifle shooting were a lot of fun.

With the help of the troop, family, and friends, Kurtis was able to complete an Eagle project for the Assistance League of Arcadia’s Thrift Store, the Bargain Box. Kurtis knew that he wanted to complete a project that would benefit a worthy organization. From his time volunteering with the Assistance League, he knew that they were the perfect recipient for his Eagle project as they are a not-for-profit organization that provides school supplies for underprivileged children. Due to the overwhelming amount of donations, the Bargain Box was in need of shelving to help maximize the space in their storage shed. Kurtis’ Eagle project was to build shelves in the shed to help the donations to be stored in an organized manner.

The Thrift Store was also in need of designating a fire hazard lane in the back of the store. Kurtis’ project also included painting a safety fire hazard lane inside the store.

Kurtis would not be who he is today without the help of the troop, parents, ASMs, friends, and family. He would like to thank and express his appreciation for everyone who helped guide him through the years.  A huge thanks to his fellow scouts for their friendship and for making Boy Scouts an enjoyable and memorable experience. Lastly, he would like to thank his dad, mom, and sister for their constant support.

Justin Tadashi Chu was born on Jan. 5, 2004, at Kaiser Permanente in Baldwin Park to parents Cliff Chu and Janet Hasegawa-Chu. He is the oldest of two children, with younger brother Derek (13). Justin attended Nishi Center and Monterey Highlands Elementary School. He is currently a senior at Mark Keppel High School. He will be attending Oregon State University in the fall.

Besides scouts, Justin also plays catcher and outfield for the Mark Keppel varsity baseball team. He enjoys playing video games and going out with friends in his free time.

Justin first joined Cub Scout Pack 738 at the age of 6. He would eventually earn his Arrow of Light before bridging over to Boy Scout Troop 738 when he was11. As a scout, Justin has held several positions, including patrol leader, troop scribe, webmaster, troop quartermaster, assistant senior patrol leader, and senior patrol leader.

One of Justin’s favorite memories with scouts was his summer camp trip to Camp Pupukea in Hawaii. Justin was excited for the experience but apprehensive as this would be his first summer camp. Once the camp was under way, however, this apprehenson went away and Justin had lots of fun earning merit badges, meeting new people, and going on different excursions around Oahu.

Due to restrictions during the pandemic, Justin’s Eagle project was done almost entirely online. By using photos taken during daily activities and from past classes at Nishi, some photo editing, and a lot of time spent on conference calls, he and his team created an orientation presentation for Nishi Center. With the pandemic making in-person meetings impossible, he wanted to give Nishi Center a way to give prospective parents a glimpse of what Nishi Center is like and what they do.

Although Justin’s scouting journey has been challenging and stressful at times, thanks to the help and guidance from his mentors, peers, adult leaders, and family, he was able to overcome said challenges and complete his scouting journey. He would like to formally thank everyone who was a part of his scouting journey, especially his troop guides and patrol members.

Ryuichiro Nonomura was born in Los Angeles on Feb. 1, 2005 to Soichiro Nonomura and Chiaki Kanto. He has a little brother, Kotaro Nonomura, who is also a scout.

He is currently a junior attending Eagle Rock High School, in Los Angeles. He is in ASB as the vice president and participates as a track-and-field athlete at school. He has also participated in clubs such as MESA, Model United Nations, and Students Run Los Angeles this year.

He started scouting at the age of 5 when he was first introduced to Cub Scouts. There, he experienced the enjoyment of learning to camp and other wilderness skills that were unique to Boy Scouts. Living in the city, the outdoors had intrigued him as a kid. As he later joined Boy Scouts, he learned even more about the outdoors and his connection with other scouts around the world.

In 2019 he was able to attend the World Scout Jamboree along with 50,000 other scouts from around the world, and he learned about other cultures and created long-lasting memories. As a Boy Scout, he has had the position of patrol leader, patrol scribe, and den chief, and has also obtained the rank of Brotherhood in the Order of Arrows.

His Eagle project was creating benches for a nonprofit organization called Asian Pacific Counseling & Treatment Centers. At this nonprofit organization, he had to overcome the obstacle of COVID. Due to his Eagle project happening during a pandemic, many precautions were taken such as limited volunteers, social distancing, and masks, to name a few. This project also required careful planning as assembling of the benches had happened at his house, where there was less risk of the spread of COVID in a worst-case scenario.

As he finished his project, he was able to see that his benches created an impact on people who would sit on them, which created the joy of being able to create something for the community.

Through his experience in Boy Scouts and scouting in general, he would like to thank everyone who has helped him grow to become who he is. Through adult support, he was able to learn valuable life skills, and through the support of his fellow scouts, he was able to advance through the ranks. Lastly, he would like to thank his parents, who helped him in any situation to make his dream of becoming an Eagle a reality.

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