Eagle Scout Cemetery Restoration

Hello! My name is Elias Chaiken and I am a Boy Scout from Katonah Troop 1. 

I am now working on the rank of Eagle (the highest rank in scouting). In order to achieve Eagle, I must direct and supervise a community service project to completion. This also requires raising of funds from the community, friends, family, etc. and doing a top quality job for the Scouts and for the community to appreciate.

For my project, I will restore the Dickinson/Carhart Cemetery at the corner of Golden's Bridge Road and Almar Lane in the town of Bedford.

The cemetery is a relatively small (10,000 square feet) private plot that has long been forgotten and is overgrown with brush, weeds, fallen tree limbs, etc. Most of all, it has broken head stones which need to be straightened and re-set as well. There is also a large dead tree that needs removal. Among the head stones are two children's head stones which are toppled, buried and need to be unearthed and set right.

The tools, contractor bags, gloves, safety equipment, dumping fees, etc. are one aspect of this project, but the professional repair to the stone wall and head stones is another. The planting of ground cover (Vinca, at $8.00 per plant) is also where the expense becomes significant. Depending on the amount of money raised for plants, I will have to strategically plant the Vinca closer to each other nearest to the head stones and then let them‘fan out’ toward the stone. Vinca is a ‘runner’ or ‘ground cover’ and over the following years it will hopefully spread and fill in as it should.

After the 10,000 square foot cemetery is cleared, weeded, raked and ready for planting, there will be need for a few hundred Vinca to give a good start. Vinca will be purchased after the initial expenses of clearing and landscaping and having the professional repairs finished. The fund raising goal noted above will get everything covered and done with a frugal and conscientious approach.

My plan also includes the construction of a park bench for sitting. This requires constructing a level base for the bench as the cemetery is on a significant grade.

The amount of work that can be done will depend on the funds raised, but you can rest assured that ‘I will do my best’ and put every penny to work on this project.

Personal Note:

As far as records show, the people who reside in this cemetery are from the mid 1800's yet not much is known about them. However, they are people all the same and by letting the earth swallow the graves up over time, their memory and presence is being forgotten. Many individuals, including myself, find it important preserve the memory and presence of the deceased because like you and me, they once lived lives full of experience and wonder. It would be moral to prevent the memory of their lives from fading away along with the land.

Sadly, this is the case for many cemeteries around the area, but by making this step to restore at least one, it can finally be made visible and draw more attention to the fact that this is not the only cemetery suffering from decay over time. When you drive by, you can hardly notice it due to so many years of deterioration and growth of shrubbery.

It has been an aspiration of mine since I first started off in scouting to become an Eagle Scout and I feel grateful to have such an opportunity to do something that can make a difference. The work will be very hard but when it contributes to something that matters, it is well worth it.

Every donation (no matter the amount) counts so much towards the future completion of my Eagle Scout Project and bringing more awareness to deteriorated cemeteries all over the area. Thank you so much for your support!!!
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Elias Chaiken 
Katonah, NY
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