Boy scout helps restore an old cemetery
Griffin Burchard was on a trip with his fellow boy scouts when he was utterly shocked to see in what state was a cemetery which was named after a famous African American leader, while they were passing by. They had a completely different task at the moment close to that cemetery, but he couldn’t take his eyes of the neglect that the cemetery was left in. Thanks to him and his fellow scouts, as the years have gone by, the cemetery looks totally different.
Griffin and his scout friends, about three years ago, were at the Alexandria National Cemetery in Virginia. There they were helping to clear out the old wreaths and replacing them with new ones on the graves. While helping on the site, his eyes kept focusing on another cemetery that was really close by, which looked like no one has been maintaining it. Frederick Douglass is the name of the cemetery that was close by, named after the famous African American orator. In an interview that was taken, Griffin mentioned that all the other cemeteries close by were maintained and cleaned up regularly. And, this cemetery had fallen leaves over the graves, branches from the trees that were so long and fallen down that you couldn’t even see the names of the people on the gravestones. It also looked like it had some flooding issues and all around not been taken care of. Because he wanted to know more about it, he started asking around and researching the cemetery. He found out that the people who have been buried there were most likely, relatives or decedents of people who were slaves. The graveyard had people buried there from 1890 up to 1975. He asked around the city of Alexandria, and people told him that no one worked on it to keep it maintained. Other than someone once in a while came to mow the grass, it didn’t have people going to maintain the graves, trees, and other problems. Griffin wasn’t going to let this continue, so he decided to try and help out.
He didn’t want to leave the cemetery at the state as it was, so he started cleaning and fixing everything, wanting to restore it as it was at the start. He couldn’t just go in and start working, and he started contacting the city official of Alexandria, so he could get a permit to start the task. The city helped him out right away because they wanted someone to do it. While he was waiting for the paperwork to be done, he also wanted to see a couple of other documents about the cemetery. When they finished all of the paperwork, they were finally released. Griffin, a couple of his fellow scouts, their parents and even some of the girl scouts of the city, could finally start working on the cemetery. Cutting the branches, cleaning up the fallen leaves, and trimming bushes it took them a lot of time to do these things. This was because of the fact that there were lots of things to be done and he said that anyone that wanted to help was welcome. Griffin himself saved around two hundred dollars, some of which he made by selling some old metal parts and scraps from his house. He kept this money so that he can replace the old sign that had the name of the cemetery on it and place a new one.
Working on the restoration of the cemetery took a couple of months. And not only did this task earn Griffin the status of Eagle Scout, but he and his friends were also honored by the city as well. After he completed the project, the city honored him with a ceremony, which had city official, religious leaders, citizens of Alexandria all gathered up to celebrate the restoration of the cemetery. At that time, it was also the 400th anniversary of the enslaved Africans that came in Virginia. At the ceremony, Griffin spoke, he wanted to give tribute to each and every person who was buried in the cemetery, and to Frederick Douglas. He also said that in the past few months, he had learned a lot and wants people to give respect to people who were buried there. With the restoration of the cemetery, Griffin sparked the need of the city official to come up with the funds so that in the future someone has to maintain it. They also made a plan to replace the plumbing system so that flooding won’t be an issue. Griffin can be an example of how much you can do if you have the right idea and people around you for help.