IRMO, S.C. — The highest rank a boy scout can hold is Eagle Scout.
This ranking is achieved through a long, detailed process including a community project. But one Midlands Eagle Scout candidate took his project across borders.
“It started off with a goal of five of the hearts, we ended up having enough money to put out 20 and it’s still growing,” Christian Norris said.
Norris was looking for a way to make an impact in pursuit of this high award. This search led him south of the border into Mexico.
“Well, I am half Mexican," Christian said. "My mother is from the city that I did it in, Torreon, and they actually have the greatest concentration of cancer in all of Latin America.”
Christian fundraised and collaborated with different organizations to bring heart-shaped metal collection bins. Those bins could, in turn, be used to collect bottle caps that can be traded for money.
“The organization I worked with, Casa Feliz, is going to sell so that they can get funds for treatments, housing, and meals for kids with cancer.”
Christian and some of his fellow scouts traveled to Mexico in August to help get these bins established and meet with the organizations he collaborated with.
Christian said the generous donations to the project and to the cause really took him by surprise.
“That’s why the goal started off with five hearts and we ended up with 20 which is crazy," he said. "But, I think I learned that people are willing to help and unify behind a project that has a good cause.”
On average, the 5-foot collection bins are producing 312 pounds of recyclable plastic every six days. According to Casa Feliz, that is enough to pay for cancer treatments for 16-17 kids every 6 days in Mexico.
Christian's scoutmaster Nathan White was amazed.
“What these guys did, this is the biggest I’ve seen it go as far as an Eagle Project and it ended up taking a life of its own. Don’t put limits on yourself and Christian didn’t," he said. "He never limited himself in what the potential for this could be.”
On top of that, Christian only has one more obstacle before earning his Eagle Scout status.