A.J. Valerio, a junior at Fishers High School, completed his Eagle Scout requirements in January and was formally honored June 2 at the Indiana Governor’s Mansion during a court of honor ceremony.
Valerio had a chance encounter with Gov. Eric Holcomb in 2017 at the Indy 500 when the two were seated next to each other. They discussed Holcomb’s U.S. Navy service and AJ’s desire to become an Eagle Scout.
“The governor showed a genuine interest in A.J. and his work toward Eagle Scout,” said Jody Valerio, A.J.’s father. “He told him if he ever earned it he could hold his court of honor at the Governor’s Mansion.”
A.J. worked with the City of Fishers to identify an area of need for his service project. He tore down and restored a shed in Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve that had been destroyed by nature and animals.
“He also wanted to put in a bench where people could sit and enjoy nature,” Jody said.
Achieving Eagle Scout rank from the Boy Scouts of America is no small feat. According to the organization, only 4 percent of Scouts earn the distinction after a lengthy review process. The task is difficult for any Scout, but A.J. has a cognitive learning disability.
“I’m beyond words,” Jody said. “I’m so proud of him. He did every requirement mainstream. There were no special exceptions for him.”
A.J. is proud of his accomplishment and the hard work it took to achieve.
“I feel really good about it,” he said.
A.J. received congratulations from Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness.
“The City of Fishers is proud of A.J. Valerio, who has earned the achievement of Eagle Scout rank. His dedication to community and service was evident in the work he did at Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve that will have a lasting impact for all who visit,” Fadness stated in a press release. “We congratulate A.J., and we know his journey is just beginning.”