Ed Graham boasts 50 badges and after last week, the highest rank of Eagle Scout from the Boy Scouts of America.

Ed Graham boasts 50 badges and after last week, the highest rank of Eagle Scout from the Boy Scouts of America.

Even though it took him a little longer than most, the 23-year-old Grove City resident received Eagle status at a ceremony held last week with his Dublin-based Scout Troop 200.

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

Ed Graham's mother, Laurel, said he joined the Scouts at age 7 to socialize.

"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 despite some language barriers, he 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," Locker said. "He really is the cheer master. He's always the first to recognize someone.

"Around Ed no one can put anyone down; no put-downs, only put-ups."

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

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

Laurel Graham said some of the badges are more significant than others.

"Every badge is a major accomplishment, but some stand out in my mind," she said. "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 that her son got to show the other Scouts up 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.

Ed Graham enjoyed the Scouts, but his mother said that seeing an eagle statue cemented his resolve to reach Eagle status, a goal few Boys Scouts reach.

"He saw an eagle figure and said he wanted to be that," Laurel Graham said. "I told him if he reached (Eagle status) I'd get it for him.

"A number of his friends had become Eagles and he saw that and knew it was important."

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

"Ed's project was supervising the building of a fence," Laurel Graham said. "It's not the building as much as leadership skills."

With his Eagle status reached, Laurel Graham is hoping her son can stay involved with the Boy Scouts. She said they've already 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," Laurel Graham said. "Even when there was pouring rain, he was so happy."