A local Boy Scout is asking for volunteers to help him clean up and restore a Selma cemetery.
Sixteen year-old Isaac Wells from Boy Scout Troop 776 in Smithfield will begin the lengthy task later this month of restoring the abandoned cemetery on US 301 behind Selma Memorial Gardens.
The cemetery was heavily vandalized 10 to 20 years ago, no one remembers exactly when, with dozens of tombstones knocked over or broken in half. About 80 of the 140 graves are marked. Sixty of the graves have crosses but no names of the buried. Uncut grass is more than three feet tall in some spots.
The cemetery was used between 1880 and 1960. Before then, rumors suggest it may have even been an Indian burial ground. According to county tax records the cemetery, just over an acre in size, has no known owner.
Isaac will restore the cemetery as his Eagle Scout project. He held a carwash fundraiser at his church in Smithfield on June 25th to help raise money for supplies.
Isaac is also asking the community to turn out and help with the project.
Three Saturday work dates have been scheduled: July 30th, August 6th and August 13th from 7am until Noon each day.
Work will primarily consist of volunteers helping Isaac restore the vandalized headstones. Individuals are encouraged to bring plastic putty knives, wire brushes, levels, and paint brushes. Those wanting to do other cleanup work can bring push lawnmowers, weed eaters, shovels, and rakes.
“I am proud of the proactivity and project management skills that Isaac has shown in designing this project and getting it underway,” Mayor Cheryl Oliver told WTSB News on Tuesday. “In the same way that Isaac is working to help us improve our community, I hope our citizens and businesses will help him either by volunteering time or donating funds to his project.”
“Please spread the word,” Isaac said. “This is a lot of work and it will take the whole community.”
Area scouts are also encouraged to donate their time to help with the project.