Special needs Michigan man becomes Eagle Scout at age 61
By ZAHRA AHMAD
AP Member Exchange
SWARTZ CREEK– Doug Cuthbertson is four decades older than an average Eagle Scout.
The 61-year-old, who earned the high rank early this year, is among the roughly 100,000 special needs people who have participated in Boy Scouts of America since the organization started in 1910.
Normally scouts earn their Eagle Award by age 18, but people with special needs can work on the rank requirements as adults.
Cuthbertson is among the 20 or so Genesee County scouts with special needs in Troops 33 and 11.
But the tradition is in jeopardy. As the old scout leaders die off, not enough volunteers are stepping up to take their place.
“It’s important to keep it going,” said Troop 117 Scoutmaster Gene Richards. “If it wasn’t for scouts some of these guys wouldn’t be coming out of their homes. This way, we know they’re getting out for an hour at least once a week.”
Cuthbertson lives in an assisted living home he shares with a family and four other special needs adults. He’s lived in the home for more than 40 years He goes to church, he goes to work, he spends time with his friends and, of course, he goes to his weekly troop meetings.