Patriot District Scout Earns Paralympic Gold!
Eagle Scout Ben H. of Troop 1525 in Annandale recently took first place in two national paralympic rifle championships. He earned gold in 10-meter precision air rifle and 50-meter smallbore rifle in the paralympic division of the U.S. Junior Olympics in Colorado Springs, CO in April, and repeated the feat in the same events at the USA Shooting National Championship at Fort Moore, GA in June.
Ben is a senior at Woodson H.S. in Fairfax, where he is co-captain of the rifle team. He’s also a leader in his Troop, where he has served as Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. For his Eagle project, he improved the path between the parking lot and indoor air rifle range at the Izaak Walton League in Centreville, allowing wounded warriors and other wheelchair users easy access the range.
Ben credits Scouting for his success in competitive rifle. He had never fired a rifle of any sort until attending a weekend Troop shoot as a new Scout. Ben decided he liked rifle shooting so much that he signed up for the merit badge the following year at summer camp. However, he was unable to finish the merit badge at camp. An Assistant Scoutmaster in Troop 1525 who was also an assistant rifle team coach at Woodson introduced Ben to an experienced paralympic rifle coach who knew how to adapt the sport to Ben’s disability. Ben not only quickly completed the merit badge, but learned how to be an effective competitor. Five years later, Ben won two national championships!
When asked the secret of his success, Ben said “don’t look back and don’t let mistakes wear you down – move on and find new solutions that will let you succeed. And most of all, ‘Be Prepared.’”