News & Politics

Blind Triplets Make History by Becoming Eagle Scouts

The Cantos brothers, whom we wrote about last year, continue to knock down obstacles

The Cantos brothers, photographed here in 2016, say that Boy Scout leaders always found a way for them to participate in every activity—whether shooting guns or shooting arrows—despite their blindness. Photo by Lexey Swall.

Seven years ago, Nick, Leo, and Steven Cantos could barely cross a street or eat or tie their shoes without help.

This week, the brothers made history for being the first blind triplets in history to become Eagle Scouts.

They did it by earning merit badges that might seem almost impossible to achieve as a blind person—for such skills as whitewater rafting,  archery, and wilderness survival (after they each built a shelter in the woods and spent the night in it).

The road to Eagle Scout—and to their other achievements, including graduating high school—wasn’t easy. Much of the boys’ success can be attributed to meeting the man who would eventually become their adoptive father, Ollie Cantos. Ollie, who is also blind, came into their lives seven years ago, and helped give them hope and confidence and more of the resources they would need to make their way in the world. This is their amazing story.

Editor in chief

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986 as an editorial intern, and worked her way to the top of the masthead when she was named editor-in-chief in 2022. She oversees the magazine’s editorial staff, and guides the magazine’s stories and direction. She lives in DC.