nathaniel-gray

Pittsburgh teen born addicted to crack becomes Eagle Scout

The next time a Scout in your troop says the road to Eagle is too hard, tell him the story of Nathaniel Gray.

Nathaniel, an 18-year-old from the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homewood, was born addicted to crack cocaine. He was raised by his aunt and couldn’t walk or eat solid food until he was almost 3 years old.

“The first five years of his life were pure hell for this child,” Gray’s aunt, Julia Robinson-Rose, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

On Saturday, Nathaniel, a high school honors student, earned the Eagle Scout rank.

“He’s persevered. He’s persevered through everything,” Robinson-Rose told WTAE-TV (watch their video piece below).

Nathaniel’s story is the a heartwarming example of why Scouting is vital in the life of every young man and young woman. Scouting offers young people a life-changing experience regardless of the circumstances that led them to button up a uniform for the first time.

What’s next for Nathaniel? He’s enrolled in the Pittsburgh Citizen’s Police Academy and wants to become a police officer in Pittsburgh.

“I just want to grow and progress and hopefully become a detective,” he said.

With the adversity Nathaniel has already overcome, there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll reach that goal and then some. Nathaniel, you’re an inspiration to us all!

Be sure to watch the WTAE-TV video and find out which merit badge Nathaniel considered his toughest:


Thanks to Vernon Smith, a district commissioner in the Laurel Highlands Council, for the tip.

2 thoughts on “Pittsburgh teen born addicted to crack becomes Eagle Scout

  1. Vern Smith is the Frontier District Commissioner…also known as “The Grim Reaper of Life Scouts” for his tenacious and ferocious “encouragement” to those “oh, so close” to Eagle! A great guy and I’m proud to call him both my Commissioner and my friend!

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