Overcoming severe cerebral palsy, King of Prussia man earns scouting’s highest honor

     Bob Matcovich pins Christian's new honors onto his son's uniform. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

    Bob Matcovich pins Christian's new honors onto his son's uniform. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

    Christian Matcovich has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, the most severe form of the disorder. With no control over the muscles in his limbs, he is completely dependant on a wheelchair to get around.

    He also just achieved Eagle Scout status, a rank that less than 10 percent of all Boy Scouts attain.


    In a ceremony Sunday in King of Prussia near his home, the 20-year-old Matcovich was recognized for earning more than 21 merit badges in activities such as camping on the beach, shooting a rifle and organizing a final service project that benefits the community.

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    For his final Eagle Scout board of review interview, Matcovich used a digital voice communicator to recite the Scouts’ Code and answer questions.

    Scoutmaster Tom Shunder, who has known Matcovich since he was 11, remembers some of the challenges he overcame. After the ceremony Sunday, Shunder recalled a particular day at a boot camp a few years back, when Matcovich was covered in mud as his fellow scouts helped him through the obstacle course. He recalled never seeing a smile so big.

    “He has so many physical issues, and to be able to go through the mere camping part of it is amazing,” said Shunder. “And then to do all the other things, it’s truly remarkable.”

    Matcovich comes from a family of Eagle Scouts, as his father and two older brothers have received the honor.

    In a speech after the ceremony, using his communication device, he thanked his family for their support.

    “Matt and Joe, thank you for blazing a path for me to follow. You inspired me so much that I went and earned more badges than you,” his digital voice read, to a reception of laughs. “Dad, you always pushed me to do my best and taught me never to give up.”

    Matcovich’s parents say he wants to stay active in the scouts, possibly becoming a counselor.

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