“The members of the Church did not consider blindness when it came to whether we could become Eagle Scouts or not. They just let us go through this experience and all the stuff everybody else went through, and they supported us all the way,” Steven says.
In late July 2017, the boys officially became the first blind triplets to earn the Eagle Scout Award in the then-107-year history of Boy Scouts of America. They said the process of becoming Eagle Scouts was extremely hard but worth the effort. “The process of getting admitted to college was not as hard as the Eagle Scout process,” Nick says.
“It took years of camping, of learning skills that I never thought I would learn. It came down to hard work,” Leo says. “But, it was also fun because of all the things we got to do that we never knew we could, including safely shooting guns and driving three-wheel ATVs on our own, though totally blind.”
For their Eagle Scout projects, Nick collected more than $2,000 worth of hygiene supplies for a nonprofit that helps abused and homeless women and families; Steven collected a year’s worth of school supplies for 130 students who were coming from low-income families; Leo collected 88 units of blood and 77 fleece blankets for the local hospital, saving up to 352 people’s lives.
Steven said they were given a choice to apply for disability-related modifications and to be given more time to complete their projects beyond the time they turned 18, but they chose to do it without any special conditions. “It would be completely out of character for us to do that,” he says.
Nick said he had no idea how big of a deal being an Eagle Scout was until media outlets started reporting on their story as word of their achievements went viral online. Even people on the street would recognize them from the news and stop to talk to them.
Speaking about their accomplishments, Nick simply says, “I try to take the principles I learn from the scriptures and embody them. For me, it’s not so much about the work; it’s what I can do to help people. My goal is to make myself as much like Christ as possible.”
Although their scouting journey took longer for them in comparison to many, becoming Eagle Scouts helped the boys know they can do more than they thought possible. “To say that I was extraordinarily proud would be an understatement. . . . It represents a victory lap, a celebration of something that did not come easy but eventually did come. It also was the result of a lot of planning over more than five years,” Ollie says. “It unlocked the entire way of thinking that they carry today.”