Troop 40 of Boy Scouts of America brought out all of the cleaning tools necessary to improve the appearance of one local cemetery. It was early April when the Confederate Veteran's Cemeteries in Quitman and Enterprise were covered in spray paint. It was the result of vandalism. Now, local boy scouts are improving the appearance of the cemetery in Quitman.
"Because I thought maybe a sense of pride you could put back into the community. It was pretty torn down and this will honor the veterans in the area," says Austin Culpepper, of Troop 40.
This clean up effort was part of Austin Culpepper's Eagle Project. An eagle project is a leadership project for members of boy scouts.
According to Robert Huffman, the Scout Master of Troop 40 in Meridian, Culpepper knew exactly what he wanted to do with this clean up.
Austin saw that the Quitman Confederate Cemetery had been vandalized, so Austin put together the project to come down and help clean up the vandalism, restore the headstones, clean the headstones, and clean up the cemetery," explains Huffman.
Many of the headstones in the cemetery were spray painted. So the cleanup required a lot of hand and elbow grease. Members of Troop 40 and a few other scouts were happy to get their hands dirty. The scrubbing was worth it for Culpepper.
"This project, I picked it because I thought it would help everybody in the community because a lot of people have been disrespectful. And it angered me a little," says Culpepper.
Now this is just one project for Troop 40. They are involved with scouting for food, efforts to help other organizations, flag ceremonies, and flag retirement ceremonies. According to Huffman, community service is a large part of their troop.
"Well of course in scouting we give back a lot to community service. In most of our ranks, the boys have to do community service to advance. Our troop is know for a lot of community service."
But of all the projects this troop has taken part in, this one does stand out.
"A lot of boys want their Eagle Project to be unique, and this is definitely a unique Eagle Projects," says Huffman.
With the troop's uniqueness, old turns to new.