In 2012, the centennial year of the Eagle Scout Award, a record 57,976 Scouts achieved Boy Scouting’s highest rank. For many, the trail to Eagle was long, but perhaps none traveled a more unique path than Spencer Zimmerman. Spencer so badly wanted his friend with cerebral palsy to finish a triathlon that, in 2010, the Arizona Eagle Scout pushed, pulled, and carried his buddy through a 500-meter swim, 3.2-mile run, and 12-mile bike ride.
Spencer, then 13 years old, and his friend Dayton Hayward trained relentlessly—Spencer pulled Dayton in a raft, pushed him in a jogger while running, and towed him on a bike— to prepare for the three-hour race that challenged their physical and mental stamina.
In March, two years after the pair crossed the finish line, the BSA and the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation paid tribute to Spencer’s dedication by honoring him with the American Spirit Award, one of the nation’s highest civilian honors for youth.