Three Eagles in the Nelson Nest
by Brooke Nicholls Nelson
Special to The Star
Jun 12, 2013 | 2351 views |  0 comments | 115 115 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Eagle Scout brothers Drew, Graham and Cole Nelson on a recent kayaking adventure on the Nantahala River. Photo: Special to The Star
Eagle Scout brothers Drew, Graham and Cole Nelson on a recent kayaking adventure on the Nantahala River. Photo: Special to The Star
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When Graham Nelson barely made the cutoff deadline of his 18th birthday to earn Scouting’s highest achievement – the Eagle Rank, he joined the elite two percent of scouts who are awarded the honor. However, according to Tom Burgess, longtime Treasurer for Boy Scout Troop 9 in Anniston, Nelson and his two older brothers, Drew and Cole, hold a troop distinction that is even more unique. They are the only three-brother Eagle Scout trio in Troop 9 history.

Nelson, 18, a 2013 graduate of The Donoho School in Anniston, lives on Cheaha Mountain in Munford. He advanced through the Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs, including the ranks of Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life. Nelson says he knows he “cut it close” with the deadline, but he says it was his father who kept him motivated and encouraged him to earn his Eagle.

Along the way he earned 12 required and 14 elective merit badges, served in troop leadership positions, was inducted into Scouting’s honor society – Order of the Arrow, and organized and completed two community service projects.

Nelson’s Eagle Service Project took place on Rebecca Mountain, where he organized extensive trail building on the section of the Pinhoti Trail, and he constructed and erected two kiosks at trailheads at Porter’s Gap and Rebecca Mountain.

Dave Gladd, former Scoutmaster for Troop 9, says that Nelson was his “go-to” scout when he needed leadership within the unit. “One of Graham’s biggest strengths is his ability to attack problems or challenges with minimum direction,” said Gladd. “I could count on him to do what was needed to either calm down the situation or take control of it.”

Nelson, an avid outdoorsman, has spent more nights in a sleeping bag than he can count. “The most memorable scout trip was when we were hiking Blood Mountain in Georgia. It started snowing, then it turned into blizzard conditions,” he said. “Even though everyone was freezing, cold, tired and exhausted, we had a good time surviving together.”

Nelson says a pinnacle point in his scouting experience was during his trip to Philmont, a high adventure-base camp located in Cimarron, New Mexico, where he and other scouts and leaders completed one of the most strenuous treks the camp has to offer.

Lord Robert Baden-Powell started the Scouting movement in Great Britain in 1907. On a foggy day in 1909, a British Boy Scout guided an American businessman, William Boyce, to his destination and refused a tip for his good turn. Impressed with the boy’s spirit, Mr. Boyce brought Scouting to the United States. Scouting provides boys with outdoor adventures, service projects and leadership opportunities that help them mature and become good citizens.

Scouting is one of Nelson’s many interests. He was an exemplary student at The Donoho School, graduating with honors, and was a member of the band, and of the cross country, track, basketball and soccer teams, as well as school clubs and other service organizations.

Nelson’s hobbies include scuba diving, water and snow skiing, horseback riding, running, mountain biking, rock climbing, triathlons, kayaking, and backpacking.

Attaining the Eagle Scout Award is but one of Nelson’s goals. He will attend Auburn University in the fall with a Presidential Scholarship and a COSAM scholarship where he plans to pursue a career in medicine. His parents are Tom and Brooke Nelson. Proud grandmother is Talladega resident, Sue Nicholls.
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Three Eagles in the Nelson Nest by Brooke Nicholls Nelson
Special to The Star

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