PORTLAND -- A young Portland man is about to achieve what few people do—become an Eagle Scout—despite some tremendous physical challenges.
Will Ramis is the kind of guy who makes you think about slowing down in life and being patient when you're trying to reach a goal.
"He has always been a tough, tenacious guy and I think that's why he originally survived," says Will's dad, Tim Ramis.
His twin sister was born healthy, but a loss of blood at birth left Will with cerebral palsy. In second grade a love of camping drew him to scouting.
"He's spent a night without shelter in the wilderness,” Tim says. “He's really done it all."
And he has 32 merit badges to show for it.
But before his scouting days come to an end, Will wants to reach the highest rank of Eagle Scout. It’s an accomplishment less than five percent of scouts achieve.
“He has to do a service project and run it," his dad says.
Wilson High, where Will was once a student, is the site for his project. He's replacing an old overgrown planter.
"It was not wheelchair accessible, and will heard about it from his teacher,” Tim says. “And he came home and said, ‘I think I've got a plan for an eagle project.’"
A planter in Will's yard was the inspiration for his design. He recruited family and friends to help install the planter he built at home, after raising $900 to pay for it.
Charlie McCaslin will be on the volunteer crew. He spent several years in the same troop as Will.
"We're all glad to see him in the final stages to make it to the eagle rank," McCaslin says. "He brought a great, positive attitude and sense of humor to things."
"I would say in 90 percent of the situations he was doing what we were doing," McCaslin adds. And when he couldn't, scouts pushed Will's chair and even carried him on trails.
"The main thing the boys did in the troop was just to treat him like a regular member of the group,” Tim says.
At the age of 20, Will reaches eagle rank two years later than many of his friends. The Boy Scouts of America gave him an extension, recognizing that his dedication is deserving of reward.
"Each time Will masters a skill in the scouts, he's rewarded for it and celebrated,” his dad says. “And that's taught me a lot"
Will and crew will be working on the project Saturday morning, starting at 9 a.m., at Wilson High School.