GARDENDALE, Ala. (WIAT) — 17-year-old Grayson Phillips will be honored Sunday by the Boy Scouts of America for achieving Eagle Scout, the highest rank.
Only four percent of Boy Scouts earn the Eagle Scout rank, so it is impressive in its own right. What makes Grayson even more impressive is his determination to become an Eagle Scout.
Grayson was born with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, but he never let it keep him on the sidelines during his 11 years as a Boy Scout. He has a special “tank” chair for hiking trails, served as senior patrol leader, and earned the Eagle-required swimming merit badge, which doesn’t sound easy no matter your physical ability: to earn the badge, scouts must undergo “rigorous feet survival floating-jump into deep water fully clothed, remove his pants, tying the ends while floating, blowing them up to use as floatation devices and floating for five minutes.”
In 2014, Phillips and his father Scott founded a nonprofit called Outdoor Ability Foundation to equip disabled outdoorsman. They’ve been able to give grants that helped provide four “tank” wheelchairs, just like the one Grayson uses to traverse outdoor terrain.