FORT WAYNE, Indiana — An 80-year-old man was finally named Eagle Scout, an honor that he never thought would happen and certainly not in the way it did.
Ed Keller thought he would pick up his award at the local Boy Scout office, but he was recognized at a Eagle Scout Court of Honor instead, The Journal Gazette reported Monday.
“It’s quite an honor,” Keller said Sunday afternoon to an audience of family, friends and uniformed Scouts at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church. “I didn’t expect it.”
Keller joined a Boy Scouts troop in Fort Wayne at age 11 and later met his requirements for Eagle Scout, but the process was not completed.
A sibling found Keller’s Eagle Scout application decades later in 2003, but Keller thought it was too late.
Keller later mentioned it to a friend and fellow Scout, who repeatedly encouraged him to turn in his paperwork to see if it would be considered, said Ken Wells, a scoutmaster who spoke at the ceremony.
He became an Eagle Scout on June 23, an honor delayed by almost 64 years, Wells said.
During the celebration, the Eagle Scout is usually challenged with going out and making the world a better place. But changes were made to reflect the unusual honoree. The Eagle Scout challenge was instead directed at the Scouts.
“This part of the program is usually a challenge to the recipient to go forward and make the world a better place,” said Tim Kearney of the Anthony Wayne Area Council. “But this is a rather different situation. We haven’t found records that indicate this has ever happened in the over 100 years of our council — presenting the Eagle Scout award to an 80-year-old Scout.”
Kearney recognized Keller’s service in the Air Guard and his career with the Fort Wayne Fire Department.
“Lift up everyone you meet to a high level of service to God and to your fellow man,” Kearney said. “Help build America on the solid foundations of clean living, honest work, unselfish citizenship and reverence for God. In short, be like Ed Keller.”