Joining the elite, top 5% of all Boy Scouts, Walter Hart was awarded his Eagle rank in a ceremony Saturday in Fort Myers, Florida. Walter is 88.
There was a 70+ year delay in Walter’s ceremony — he passed the requirements for the rank, but then went off to fight in World War II before the award was made.
”I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” said Hart, who lives in a retirement center in nearby Lehigh Acres.
Scout officials say he may be the oldest person to ever earn the honor.
Hart joined the Cub Scouts in 1928 in Malden, Mass., and earned 23 merit badges during his years as a Boy Scout, scouting officials said. Of the 120 merit badges available, 21 must be earned to qualify for Eagle Scout rank.
It all got set aside when he joined the Navy during World War II and served two years aboard the USS Alfred A. Cunningham.
Last year, he rediscovered some of his old Boy Scout memorabilia, including documents that showed he completed the requirements for his Eagle Scout rank. He contacted the Scouts about receiving his award.
”I think this was something that was always on his mind, but every time he went to go do it, something else came up,” daughter Elizabeth Gatturna said. ”I know how hard he’s tried to get to this point.”
- Walter Hart, 88, is shown wearing a 2007 Boy Scout uniform with the merit badge sash he used as a youth, prior to World War II. Apart from the not-quite fit, we can tell the sash is his old one because many of the merit badges are in their pre-World War II designs, and the sash shows rank badges for Star Scout and Life Scout; current uniform rules do not allow rank badges on the sash. Under Scout rules, Walter may wear this sash for his Scouting career. Associated Press photo.
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