Harris Fisher’s Eagle project

Published 10:25 pm Friday, May 9, 2014

The story of Harris Fisher’s Eagle project for Boy Scout Troop 16 in Driver is just the sort of thing to help renew a battered respect for humanity.

Fisher, 21, suffers from Down syndrome, a condition that he, his parents and his Scout leaders and Scouting friends easily could have concluded made him unable to achieve much in the organization. It would have been easy — and maybe even understandable — for all involved to have given the most perfunctory efforts toward Fisher’s Scouting career, citing the seemingly insurmountable challenges he would face along the way.

It would have been easy — and maybe even understandable — if all involved had contented themselves with Fisher being involved in Scouts for a couple of years before dropping out of the organization. In fact, Fisher himself sometimes became discouraged and considered leaving his troop.

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But, among other things, the Boy Scouts of America are about helping boys face challenges head on and then find a way to overcome them. Every time their young friend missed more than a few meetings, a Scout or Scout leader would call with encouragement. They made it clear they considered him a valuable member of their troop.

Earlier this month, all that engagement paid off, when Fisher led a crew of Scouts and other volunteers in completing a project to build benches for the baseball dugouts at Nansemond River High School.

He took no shortcuts and was given no special accommodations for his condition. As his father, George Fisher, told staff writer Matthew Ward, Harris Fisher wanted to earn his badge, and having done so, the younger Fisher can take great pride in his accomplishment.

But the young men and the leaders of Troop 16 deserve a measure of praise, as well, for coming along beside their friend and supporting him in his discouraging times, for recognizing his individual value and for making it their responsibility to ensure that he recognized his own abilities.

It’s clear that Driver’s Troop 16 is raising a fine group of young men, a group of leaders and future leaders — including Harris Fisher — who decided not to let a little thing like Down syndrome keep them from reaching their goals and helping one young man reach his. What a fine testament to the Boy Scouts.