VIRGINIA - It’s a crowning achievement for anyone boy who does the work that’s required – becoming an Eagle Scout. Now, as of just a few days ago, Northern Virginia has a new, very much unofficial Eagle Scout.
Bob King is 91 years young. He's had a successful life in business, he served as a Naval Reservist and he's built a beautiful family.
A big part of King’s life growing up was being a Boy Scout. He loved it, and worked hard at it, got nearly every merit badge he needed and was a scout camp counselor
"That evolved into going to camp and being a counselor and getting awards at the camp," King said.
Despite his love of scouting, as a boy, he never quite became an Eagle Scout.
"It meant something that I didn’t finish, and I should have finished when I was a youngster," King says.
King moved to the Paul Spring Retirement Community four months ago. When someone asked him if he had any regrets in his life, he says it hit him hard.
"The questions were such that, ‘Did I have any regrets?’" he said, through tears, "And the only regret I had was not becoming an Eagle Scout."
Ben Bogan is the Activities Director at Paul Spring. Bogan consulted with the Capital Region’s Scouts, and some local troops about what it would take to get a bird study merit badge, something King always had an interest in.
"I looked up what are the current requirements for the badge," Bogan says.
Bogan and King went to an aviary in Montgomery County. King was quizzed on all things birds and hung up a birdhouse in the courtyard of the retirement community.
Then, King was presented with a badge and a certificate that the home calls a "Bald" Eagle Scout, despite this 91-year-old’s full head of hair. The retirement home even got an authentic merit badge from the 40s when King would have been a boy.
While the title is technically unofficial since you have to be 18 or under to become an Eagle Scout, it’s an honor that’s plenty fine by Bob King. He said it was one of the happiest days of his life.
"That was my only regret. I did everything else. And I can’t tell you how honored I am," he says.
A plaque given to King now hangs prominently in his apartment.
"Seeing him be emotional about it just makes it that much more special," says Bogan.
Bob King has packed a lot of life into 91 years, with a reminder that when it comes to finding happiness, joy and fulfillment, age is just a number.
"Just remember, take care of your youth. You may grow up to be old," King says.