Man Receives Eagle Scout Award After 51 Years

Alan Waters, left, and two other Life Scouts from West Virginia demonstrate firemaking using flint and steel at a Boy Scouts exhibit in the New York World’s Fair.
Alan Waters, left, and two other Life Scouts using flint and steel to make a fire at a Boy Scouts exhibit in the New York World’s Fair. (Courtesy photo via Charleston Gazette-Mail)

At 67 years old, Alan Waters of Morgantown, W.Va., can finally join the rare ranks of Scouting’s highest honor, an award earned by only six percent of Scouts today.

Fifty-one years ago, Waters completed all of the requirements to earn the award at age 16, yet his formal application was never submitted. Both he and his Scoutmaster moved before the documents were sent.

When Waters reached his eighteenth birthday, he thought he could no longer pursue Scouting’s highest rank and gave up his pursuit. Yet in 2014, he discovered he was wrong after meeting with Jeff Doty, Scout executive of the Mountaineer Area Council. Jeff explained to Alan how he could still receive the award after his eighteenth birthday, according to the Guide to Advancement 2015.

Waters needed proof from his Scoutmaster he completed the rank requirements, so he tracked down his old Scoutmaster who since moved to Panama City, Fla. Luckily for Waters, however, his old Scoutmaster was going to be in Morgantown for a wedding and was able to authenticate Waters’ Eagle Scout documents from 1965. With all of the required documents signed and perquisites fulfilled, Waters submitted a belated Eagle Scout application and it was accepted.

“It’s really fulfilling. I had always regretted not being able to pursue it at that time — a lot of it was out of my control,” Waters shared with the Charleston Gazette-Mail. “I always felt that I was an Eagle Scout, but I wasn’t on paper.”

Waters experienced a bevy of memorable moments throughout his childhood as a Scout. He performed with the Boy Scout Color Guard in the 1963 West Virginia Centennial Parade of Flags at the White House Rose Garden with President John F. Kennedy in Washington, D.C. and later performed on the Capitol Steps in Washington, D.C.

Waters performed in the May 1963 West Virginia Centennial Parade of Flags at the Rose Garden in Washington, D.C.(Courtesy photo via Charleston Gazette-Mail).

“He’s lived his life as though he’s been an Eagle Scout all along,” Doty said. “His continued service through Rotary and other volunteer opportunities reflects that Alan always was an Eagle Scout, and always acted as though he was an Eagle Scout although he had never been presented the award. That’s why we’re very proud.”

Waters will be recognized at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony June 9 at the council’s annual recognition dinner.

Learn more about Alan’s story and journey to Eagle Scout by visiting the Charleston Gazette-Mail. For more information about belated Eagle requests, check out “Can You Get Eagle Scout After 18?” on Scouting Wire.


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Hayley Cordaro is a communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America. She loves sharing inspiring success stories and uncovering new ways volunteers and employees can make the most of their Scouting experience. If you have story ideas or questions, reach out to us at