- Associated Press - Sunday, May 15, 2016

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - It was when veterinarian Andrew Silverstone was moving into a new office building that he started to feel like his wall of awards and plaques was missing something.

He wanted his Eagle Scout award, the highest honor a Boy Scout can earn, hanging among his accomplishments as a vet.

After gathering paperwork that his parents held on to for 27 years, Silverstone will get his Eagle Scout award May 19 at Baylake United Methodist Church.

He’s 44, 26 years older than most who get their Eagle Scout awards.

It’s the first time Rich Becker, district director for the Tidewater Council of Boy Scouts, has ever seen a Scout come back as an adult to earn the award.

“No matter when you make it, you’re in an elite club and should be recognized,” he said.

Only about 6 percent of Boy Scouts become Eagle Scouts, according to Becker. They can apply for certain scholarships and can even start at a higher rank in the military than most of their peers.

Silverstone completed everything he needed to become an Eagle Scout when he was a 17-year-old in Dover, Ohio. He earned all 22 required badges, was a leader in his troop and came up with his own service project to bring pets into nursing homes.

Eagle Scout projects have to be approved by the troop and the district. Then the Scout has to go before a board of review, which is three to five adults who evaluate the scout’s project and scouting career. Eagle Scouts must also apply and go through the process before they turn 18.

“Some of that went awry,” Becker said of Silverstone. “It was a perfect storm of bad things happening at the same time.”

First, Silverstone caught mono. That would’ve been enough to grant to him an extension, but Silverstone’s troop had to get a new Scoutmaster. The new Scoutmasters weren’t as experienced and didn’t know they could file for an extension, Becker said.

Silverstone also said he was discouraged by the delay. He spent most of his life Scouting and was very passionate about it.

“When you’re 17 and you’re leaving the state to go to college, you’re like, ‘Oh, screw this town,’ and you walk away from things,” he said.

Silverstone attended college and then went to veterinary school in Canada. He settled in Virginia Beach, and as his business and family grew, his missing Eagle Scout award weighed on him.

“Now that I’m a parent, I see that things come along; and if you don’t take advantage them when they’re there, you may not get the opportunity again,” he said. Silverstone has a 7-year-old daughter who is part of the Brownies, the youngest of the Girl Scouts.

He hopes his daughter will wear her Brownies vest to his Eagle Scout reception.

“I don’t know if I can get her to do that,” he said.

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Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, https://pilotonline.com


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