Joseph Acquafredda

In Memory of a Beloved Leader

Joseph Acquafredda

Riverdale Press 6 May 2010
By Maria Clark

Scoutmaster of Troop 240 shaped boys into leaders, dies at 57

Joseph G. Acquafredda, who died on April 29 at age 57, took over leadership of Boy Scout Troop 240 in 1999 with the aim of guiding  guiding young men to become better citizens and leaders.

“Being a leader is not an easy task. A leader is responsible for the well-being of the people in his charge, a leader puts the needs of his people before his own, and assists other leaders for the overall well-being of the Troop,” he wrote in a letter that was published in the Troop 240 1999 Annual Journal.

He took the scouts and his role as their leader very seriously. He increased Troop 240 from 10 scouts in those early days to close to 60 scouts, adding four new Eagle Scouts this year alone.

“For me, seeing them come in at 11 years old as children and then watching them leave at 17 as leaders, that’s what this is all about,” Mr. Acquafredda told The Press in 2007.

Mr. Acquafredda, a Bronx native and longtime Riverdale resident, died at Montefiore Medical center after succumbing to a brief illness.

“Aside from being scoutmaster he was a key trainer of boy scouts and adults throughout New York City. There are hundreds of scout leaders he has been responsible for training,” said Jay Schnapp, Troop 240 assistant scoutmaster.

Arthur Pann, a former Troop 240 scout member, had recently been in touch with Mr. Acquafredda regarding coordinating a reunion of all former and current scouts from Troop 240, but Mr. Acquafredda died before the date arrived.

“He would tell me about [the troop] today and I was telling him about [the troop] yesterday,” Mr. Pann said. “He was excited about naming four new Eagle Scouts and bringing so many people together who grew up in the troop.”

Weeks before the planned reunion, Mr. Acquafredda sent an e-mail to Mr. Pann telling him he was suffering from a life-threatening illness and might not be able to make the reunion planned for May.

“He wanted to keep it private and didn’t want to let the scouts know,” said Mr. Pann. “He was always thinking of them.”

Mr. Acquafredda served as a staff sergeant in the United States Army on active duty in West Germany, Dallas Ft. Worth and Ft. Hamilton, from 1973 to 1984. He was also employed by the United States Social Security Administration for over 25 years, working most recently as a Field Service Representative. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Fordham University in 1980.

He began his scouting career in 1965, as a Boy Scout with BSA Troop 200, based in the Bronx. He started out as an Assistant Scoutmaster with BSA Troop 300 in 1996 and finally became Scoutmaster to BSA Troop 240 in 1999. The troop recently celebrated its 90th anniversary at the Riverdale Presbyterian Church.

“Throughout his life, Joe exemplified a desire to teach and to serve others; in this way, he created and nurtured many families, both his own and his Scouting family,” his friend Ellen Beltran said in a statement.

Despite Mr. Acquafredda’s passing, Troop 240’s reunion is scheduled for Friday, May 14 to Saturday, May 15, and will start at the Riverdale Presbyterian Church at 7 p.m.

“Troop 240 is an incredible and important fabric of Riverdale. There are people all over this country that are doing important things for this world, who grew up in Troop 240,” said Mr. Pann. “And he was a part of maintaining that.”

A Memorial

They say that a person's true value in the world is measured by the number of other people that person has positively affected. If that is true, and I believe it is, then Joseph Acquafredda was one of the most important people that I have personally known. After painstakingly sifting through 12 years of Troop 240 photos, it becomes very clear that Joe was of cornerstone influence to hundreds, if not thousands, of people. He was directly responsible for making a noticeable difference to countless families, and installing Scouting ideals to our next generation of leaders.

As an "invisible member" of the Troop 240 Family, I am rarely remembered as even belonging to the Troop, even though my son Jimmy, became Eagle Scout #111 under the tutorship of Mr. Acquafredda (and others). Yet despite my meager contributions, I frequently "spoke" to Joe, via e-mail, throughout the week. As an dynamic leader, Joe understood how to tap into my particular abilities -- the maintenance of the Troop's Web Site -- while circumventing those areas that others may be more suited to fulfill. He was visionary, and always extremely supportive of my efforts.

More importantly than that, Joe was my friend. We would talk, just to talk. Our backgrounds are similar in many respects: he was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army. My dad was a Master Sergeant, and for awhile I was an "Army Brat" ... he loved photography as much as I did ... Scouting became a core belief to his character, as it did in my life, during trying times in our lives ... and we both came "within inches" of becoming Eagle Scouts. (As "Life Scouts" we both felt we always had to prove ourselves a little bit more. Joe proved himself a lot more.)

When my Jimmy was critically ill in the hospital, it was Joe and Edna who came to offer him, and my family comfort. That's just the way they are. It's just one example of how Joe was important to me. He gave of himself unconditionally. His passing was premature. His influence is undeniable. But he will live forever through our memories, and our good deeds, and our actions to help others.

Joseph Acquafredda: Exceptional Leader ... Patriot ... Loving Family Man ... A Loyal Friend To Boys, And Adults Alike ... A Scoutmaster's Scoutmaster.

Mary Ellen, Jimmy, Emily, Liz, and myself wish Edna, and his entire family our deepest condolences ... and undying gratitude.

Al Willen 


Boy Scout (Youth): 6 years (Life Scout)
Explorer (Youth): 2 years
Boy Scout Leader: 20 years
Silver Beaver
District Award of Merit
National President's Scoutmaster Award of Merit
Scoutmaster's Key
Scouter's Training Award
William D. Boyce New Unit Organizer Award
Staff Positions
Wood Badge (3 Beads) 
GNYC JLTC (Ten Mile River) 
Director/SM, GNYC NYLT (TMR) - 2005
Youth Training
Junior Leader Development Course (Schiff)
Adult Training
Scoutmaster Fundamentals
Wood Badge
Commissioner's Conference
District Committee Course (Philmont)
JLTC For the 21st Century (Philmont)
Junior Leader Positions Held
Adult Leader Positions Held
Training Chairman For The Bronx Council
District Committee, Training Chairman
Assistant Scoutmaster
Merit Badge Counselor
Committee Member
Order Of The Arrow
Vigil Honor - Ranachqua Lodge
OA Youth Positions Held
Chairman, Ritual & Regalia Committee
Chairman, Service Committee
OA Adult Positions Held
Associate Advisor, Dance Team
Advisor, Elections Committee
Associate Lodge Advisor
National Order Of The Arrow Conferences
1969 (Youth)
2002 (Adult)
Merit Badge Counselor For:
American Business
American Heritage
Citizenship In The Community  
Citizenship In The Nation  
Citizenship In The World  
Emergency Preparedness  
Family Life  
Indian Lore
Wilderness Survival