Florida Couple Have Inspired Differently-Abled Scouts for 25 Years

Richard and Claudia Coleman, with Derek Connell / StoryCorps

People Magazine’s “Heroes Among Us” recently featured a Florida couple whose leadership in a Boy Scout troop has helped inspire a sense of dignity and accomplishment among differently-abled Scouts who have conditions such as Down syndrome, autism or spina bifida.

For more than 25 years, Richard and Claudia Coleman have helped their Scouts earn 1,000 merit badges, according to People. Eight have become Eagle Scouts, the highest rank for Scouts in the organization.

“To me they aren’t disabled,” Richard told People. “They’re Scouts, and that’s how I treat them.”

This isn’t the first time the Colemans’ dedication has been in the spotlight. As part of Scouting’s 100th anniversary in 2010, NPR’s “Morning Edition” featured a conversation between the Colemans and one of their Scouts, 54-year-old Derek Connell, as part of the StoryCorps project.

It’s great to see attention on the great achievements of the Scouts, and on the leaders and families dedicated to helping them.

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