GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - David Spragg has made "Eagle," the Boy Scout's highest rank. It's an honor that only three out of every 100 Boy Scouts accomplish.
The average age of scouts who reach the Eagle level is 17. The significance of David Spragg's award is two-fold. Spragg is 43 years old and he has cerebral palsy.
In order to join the rarified air of the Eagle ranks, Spragg had to achieve 21 merit badges, including 12 that are mandatory.
One of those is "camping", the life blood of the scouting movement.
"Camping to the Boy Scouts is you learn how to cook your own meals," explained Spragg. "Well, in a group home setting, that is harder to do. You have staff that cook meals."
To achieve the required camping badge, Spragg had to perform the same tasks as other scouts. "To build a fire, cook the food, and do things as if you were surviving on your own," said Spragg.
Spragg lives in a Golden Valley group home, operated by Opportunity Partners. The staff there has supported Spragg's scouting and other efforts.
"He has volunteered with Feed My Starving Children and the Union Gospel Mission. He has gone to the Children's Hospital and played games with some of the kids there," commented John Tellinghusen of Opportunity Partners. "So, he very much wants to be part of the community."
Spragg can be seen patrolling the halls of the State Capitol in Saint Paul, lobbying legislators on behalf of himself and others with special needs. He was given an award by the company he works for through the Lifeworks program.
Spragg is a member of Fridley Knights of Columbus Troop #364. There are more than a dozen other scouts in the troop with special needs, but David Spragg is the first to reach the Eagle rank. It took him 30 years of determined effort. Now, he has set his sights on another goal in scouting.
"I would like to be a Scoutmaster, someday," he insisted. "I will try to do the best I can with having a special needs disability. If I become a Scoutmaster, I will work with parents who have special needs children and I will listen to what they want, more than what I want."
In the midst of the hubbub over his new scouting rank, Spragg remains humble. "I am not overly proud of myself. I am confident, but I am happy that I did it. I just want to let other people know that you can do it, but it takes time and effort and a willingness to do it."
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