Ed Graham boasts 50 badges from the Boy Scouts of America and, after last week, he also possesses its highest ranking, Eagle Scout.

Ed Graham boasts 50 badges from the Boy Scouts of America and, after last week, he also possesses its highest ranking, Eagle Scout.

The 23-year-old Grove City resident achieved his Eagle status during a ceremony held last week with his Dublin Scout Troop 200.

Graham received special permission from the Boy Scouts to remain in the organization and become an Eagle Scout despite dealing with the challenges of cerebral palsy, epilepsy and developmental disabilities.

Graham's mother, Laurel, said she signed up her son for the Scouts at age 7 so he could socialize with other boys.

"I wanted something to give Ed some positive male role models," she said. "He needed some guy time. What better place for guy time than the Scouts?"

Graham has been with the Dublin troop for seven years and sports a badge that labels him the cheer master for the troop.

The troop's scoutmaster, Mark Locker, said Graham earned the title.

"He is very much an integral part of the troop. He really is the cheer master. He's always the first to recognize someone," Locker said. "Around Ed, no one can put anyone down. No put downs, only put ups."

Even though Scouts need 21 badges to reach Eagle status, Locker said Graham earned 50.

"He does everything all the other boys do, it just takes him a little longer. Everybody's different and that's OK," Locker said.

Laurel Graham said some of the badges stand out in her mind more than others. "The fishing badge was awesome to get and the fire safety badge was an accomplishment because he was always afraid of fire."

While going for the horsemanship badge, Laurel Graham said her son got to show up the other Scouts a bit because he's ridden horses for therapy for cerebral palsy.

"He was the only one who knew what he was doing," she said.

She said seeing an eagle statue cemented her son's resolve to become an Eagle Scout, a ranking few Scouts achieve.

"He saw an eagle figure and said he wanted to be that. I told him if he reached (Eagle Scout) I'd get it for him," she said. "A number of his friends had become Eagles and he saw that and knew it was important."

Scouts must complete a project that teaches leadership before reaching Eagle status; Graham's job was building a fence at the church that serves as the troop's home.

"It's not the building as much as leadership skills," Laurel Graham said.

With his Eagle status reached, Laurel Graham hopes her son can stay involved with the Boy Scouts. She said they've petitioned the organization to stay in the group or move on to adult Eagles.

"They really do work well with people like him who need a little more time," she said.

If he stays involved, Ed Graham will get to continue his favorite Scout activity: camping.

"Ed would be happy camping in the rain or snow," his mother said. "Even when there was pouring rain, he was so happy."