Boy Scout project aims to preserve history at Woodland Cemetery

Published: Dec. 11, 2022 at 5:41 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -Thousands of African Americans are buried at Woodland Cemetery in Richmond. It’s getting some serious restoration all thanks to one Boy Scout. He decided to clean up the cemetery as part of his project to become an Eagle Scout.

“I think that giving back to the community is one of the best things I can do,” said Boy Scout Auggie Bryan.

Auggie was inspired by the history of the cemetery and decided to make it his project to become an Eagle Scout. The cemetery is the final resting place of roughly 30,000 African Americans some of who are as well-known as Arthur Ashe and others who served as veterans dating back to World War I.

”We have sculptors, artists. People that were notable in their time,” explained John Shuck who serves as Woodland Restoration Foundation board member.

That’s what pushed dozens of volunteers to work in overdrive on Saturday as part of Auggie’s Eagle Scout project.

Volunteers spent their time building a fountain and fixing up a broken pathway. They also created a memorial to honor the headstones of veterans that were left untouched for years.

”They were all stacked up in a pile sitting right back there where the equipment is sitting now we have no idea why they were stacked there they’ve been here for years and years,” Shuck stated.

The veteran’s memorial will be a site for families to come pay their respects especially if the headstone of their loved one is still missing.

“We found a slope right in front where everyone can see where we’ll be turning it changing it into a memorial for these warriors of our country,” Bryan said.

The headstones located during Auggie’s project won’t just be on display at the cemetery. They’ll be put somewhere where the families of those men and women can find them online.

“These will get placed on our website out genealogy website called find a grave so people will know that we have found these gravestones and at least they can come out and see them here in memorial not in a stack here,” Shuck explained.