PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The rank of Eagle Scout is the highest honor any Boy Scout can achieve.
This weekend, a young man in Pittsburgh joined the elite group, but he didn’t do it before facing a long, uphill climb.
Nathaniel Gray has achieved something very few Boy Scouts ever accomplish.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am grateful for everyone being here,” Gray said.
For Gray, the challenge was more than earning the required merit badges, camping trips, and his eagle project. It was fighting for life.
He was born prematurely to a mother on crack cocaine. He barely weighed two pounds and spent years in the hospital.
“I feel like it’s a true miracle. The power of prayer is beyond belief. I never thought I would see the day that he would be a grown man, especially where he is now. I thank God for this road, this journey, and this community,” Gray’s aunt, Julia Robinson-Rose, said.
Gray was raised by his great aunt and great uncle, who know how few African-American boys achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
“I’m proud. I couldn’t be more prouder than him being my blood son. I call him my nephew son,” Floyd Rose said.
His mother also attended Sunday’s ceremony.
“It took a village to raise him, and I am thankful for my aunt Ladybug and Uncle Floyd for helping me raise him and I am just blessed and I thank God for all the help they gave us,” Lisa Gray said.
Gray plans to go to California University of Pennsylvania after graduation and wants to become a detective for the Pittsburgh Police Department.
“It was a milestone and I felt like could do it no problem and I felt like I am just blessed to be here and blessed for all the support I have had from family and friends,” Gray said.