The first Eagle Scout to serve as president of the United States, Gerald R. Ford restored dignity to an office mired in scandal.
Born in 1913, Ford joined a Grand Rapids, Michigan, Boy Scout troop in 1924 and became an Eagle Scout three years later. But Scouting wasn’t the only arena in which Ford excelled. An accomplished athlete, he played football at the University of Michigan and considered a professional football career. Instead, he chose law school, graduating from Yale in 1941.
The start of World War II interrupted Ford’s brief legal career. He quickly joined the Navy, rising to the rank of lieutenant commander before leaving the service in 1946.
Two years later, Ford was elected to Congress, where he would represent Michigan’s Fifth Congressional District for the next 25 years. When Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned in disgrace in 1973, Richard Nixon appointed Ford to the post. Ten months later, Nixon himself resigned, making Ford president.
During his long life—he died at age 93—Ford remained connected to Scouting, even donning a Scout uniform for a 1978 BSA ad campaign. In 1997, the Western Michigan Shores Council was renamed the Gerald R. Ford Council in his honor.