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This 103-Year-Old’s Amazing Life Earns Him the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award

Dick Douglas, 103, responds to his newest distinction as a Distinguished Eagle Scout during ceremonies in his honor.
Douglas, 103, during DESA ceremony, Sept. 24, 2015 (Photo credit: Randy Piland)

Robert Dick Douglas, Jr., conquered the esteemed Eagle Scout rank, roamed the African safari, wrote a national best-seller, flew the open air with Amelia Earhart and now, he’s earned a Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, one of the most prestigious Scouting honors for Eagles.  And that’s just the short list of his awe-inspiring lineup of lifetime accomplishments. At 103 years old, Douglas has lived a life that’s nothing short of phenomenal.

How did this chain reaction of feats begin? Scouting, of course.

“Scouting has always been very important to me,” said Douglas. 

The centenarian eagerly joined Boy Scouts on his 12th birthday (as soon as he could) and participated in a whirlwind of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities since that day.

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Douglas shooting photos in Africa with other two Scouts from the trip.

In fact, after Douglas earned his Eagle Scout rank in December 1925, he was one of the three Scouts selected for an Eagle Scout safari expedition to Africa in 1928. His experiences in Africa inspired him to write the national best-seller, “Three Boy Scouts in Africa.” The book was a booming success and led to a U.S. speaking tour with Amelia Earhart, who hadn’t risen to fame yet.

“Scouting taught me that I could do just about anything I wanted to undertake,” he explained. “Scouting taught me to be self-reliant. It taught me to feel like if I really wanted to do anything, I could do it.”

Douglas’ successes continued through adulthood too. As great-grandson of Stephen Douglas of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Douglas joined the family’s political legacy as a labor and employment law attorney. He even appeared before the United States Supreme Court during his career.

But best-selling author and attorney aren’t the only careers he commanded. Douglas also became an FBI special agent and prominent community leader in Greensboro, N.C.

Dick Douglas, 103, shows his newest distinction as a Distinguished Eagle Scout. He is also among, if not, the oldest living Eagle Scout.
Douglas presents his Distinguished Eagle Scout Award alongside his wife. (Photo credit: Randy Piland)

In recognition for his incredible longevity and commitment to Scouting and his community, Douglas accepted the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award September 24, 2015. He is one of the longest tenured Eagle Scouts in history. During the Old North State Council DESA ceremony, Douglas extolled Scouting as a significant influence on his life.

What’s next for this new Distinguished Eagle Scout? He plans to forge ahead.

“I’m shooting for 105. I’m in good health and I think I’m going to make it. And if I get to be 105, I’ll aim for 108,” shared Douglas during his light-hearted acceptance speech. “When you’re a 106 or 107 you become a national celebrity and when you become 105, you get to be a local celebrity. So I’m looking forward to being a big celebrity when I’m 108, 109,” he joked.

With a track record and sense of humor like his and the determination of an Eagle Scout, Douglas is on the path to achieve just that.

Watch the Fox 8 video below to catch a glimpse of the DESA ceremony and hear from the centenarian. Check out the photo gallery to the left for more photos of the ceremony and Douglas’ expedition.

13-year-old Distinguished Eagle Scout

Eagle Scouts, Scouts or those simply inspired by his story, please direct notes of congratulation and well wishes to the Old North State Council. The council will forward the notes to Mr. Douglas.

Old North State Council

1405 Westover Terrace

Greensboro, N.C., 27408

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Hayley

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 communications@scouting.org.