A local boy scout from Dr. Phillips is working to restore a historic cemetery in the Gotha community as part of earning his Eagle Scout rank.
Seventeen-year-old Andrew LaPeters said choosing the cemetery was a no-brainer, as he saw how historically significant the establishment was to Gotha and the surrounding community. LaPeters said he also noticed the deterioration that had occurred gradually to the special location.
“This work is important to me, because it is a huge part of the history of Gotha and the community relies on its history to become a better place,” LaPeters said. “Since I am becoming more active in the Gotha community, it makes it even more important for me to complete this project.”
LaPeters, other volunteers from St. Luke’s United Methodist Church’s Boy Scouts of America Troop 6, friends from his local high school and several family members gathered Saturday, Sept. 24, to start the work.
The scout said he has started the weeding of invasive plants around the main part of the cemetery and along the fence, as well as started restoration on some of the graves that have been displaced by trees in the area surrounding the headstones.
The group of helpers met again Saturday, Oct. 1, and will meet for the final time Saturday, Oct. 8, to complete the project. LaPeters said Hurricane Ian did not set the work back.
LaPeters said the work will help him become an Eagle Scout, as leading a volunteer project such as this is one of the most important requirements to acquire the rank.
He said he hopes to complete his Eagle rank by the end of November, before his 18th birthday.
LaPeters said earning the achievement would open many opportunities in his life, so he can have advantages that may not have been there for him if he hadn’t achieved the rank.
“My future hope and goal is that people are able to look at the cemetery and see how much better it has gotten and treat it with respect,” LaPeters said. “I also hope other scouts are able to do projects as meaningful as this.”