Boy Scout leads largest group of volunteers to level headstones at St. George cemetery

ST. GEORGE — A Boy Scout rallied dozens of volunteers to level headstones for his Eagle Scout Project, leading the largest group to ever perform the service in St. George. 

Volunteers work to level headstones for Andrew Wyckoff’s Eagle Scout Project at the St. George Cemetery, St. George, Utah, Sept. 7, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Shandi Wyckoff, St. George News

The project was led by 14-year-old Andrew Wyckoff, a member of Boy Scout Troop 399, who chose the project because of his love for pioneer history.

“I really love reading pioneer ancestry stuff and their stories,” Wyckoff said. “And I just thought that it would be really cool to be able to go and show reverence for all these people.” 

The project took place at the St. George Cemetery on Saturday. Over 40 people helped level graves, while an additional dozen people came with refreshments. 

“It went really well. We had 41 people show up, which was the biggest group they’ve ever had,” Wyckoff said. 

To level the headstones, groups used tools provided by the cemetery to pry up the stone, shovel dirt underneath, level the ground with their hands and replace the headstone. 

Andrew Wyckoff works to level headstones for his Eagle Scout Project at the St. George Cemetery, St. George, Utah, Sept. 7, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Jillyn Haymore, St. George News

Those who were unable to lift the heavy stones or didn’t have the tools to do so, instead went around and cleaned up the headstones by clipping the grass around them and dusting them off.

Over the course of two and a half hours, the group leveled 44 headstones, with volunteers putting in a total of 136 man-hours.

Wyckoff first began planning for the project Aug. 15. After asking the city for some suggestions, he chose this project. 

“I knew Andrew chose the right project for him when I took him to the cemetery earlier this summer. He could see that one of the sunken headstones had been covered with grass clippings. He asked me if it would be all right if he bent over and cleaned it off,” said Shandi Wyckoff, the boy’s mom. “As I watched him brush the grass away, I could see that he knew each headstone represented a real person who was loved and deserved to be remembered and respected.”

In addition to choosing the project because of his interest in pioneer history, Wyckoff did so out of respect for the community. 

“I think that it’s really helpful for those who are relatives of the person that we raise it up for. It just makes it look really nice,” Wyckoff said. “For some of them, they sink down so far that you can barely read it, so it makes it more available.”

After filling out mounds of paperwork and having his project approved by the Boy Scouts, Wyckoff moved on to the planning stages.

He recruited volunteers through his church and by reaching out to people via text and social media.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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