2017-10-06 / Front Page

Eagle Scout gives new life to neglected cemetery

By Cathy Cobbs

McKenzie Vaughn McKenzie Vaughn An overwhelming urge to honor those who had gone before him drove Eagle Scout McKenzie Vaughn to pick a project to restore an extremely neglected graveyard in West Columbia.

Vaughn, of Troop 515, along with 50 to 100 other volunteers, cleared debris and bushes at the Lybrand Cemetery, which contains almost 1,000 grave plots, many of which hadn’t been maintained for almost a decade.

The graveyard has been the site of vandalism and squatters, which exacerbated the already-decrepit condition of the area.

Dave Bushman, who helped spearhead the project, said the state of the cemetery was “very, very sad.”

“ There are a lot of graves, including those of infants, that had been neglected for years,” Bushman said. “I felt like this project would be a way to give life back to those whose lives were forgotten.”

Bushman had been part of a group that worked to restore the cemetery almost a decade ago, but little had been done to maintain the work that had been started, and it fell again into disrepair.

Coley Brown of Big Red Box donated the dumpster above. A scout helps put trash from the cemetery in it. Coley Brown of Big Red Box donated the dumpster above. A scout helps put trash from the cemetery in it. With a donation of materials, and most importantly, the delivery of a dumpster provided by Coley Brown of Big Red Box, the project commenced on September 2 and finished on the weekend of September 10. During those two weekends, a significant amount of weeds and trash were cleared from the site.

Vaughn, a senior at Gray Collegiate Academy, said the large dumpster had to be emptied quickly because of the amount of debris collected. Even though the Eagle project has been completed, he plans on making sure the cemetery stays trimmed and neat.

“I want to know that these loved ones have not been forgotten,” he said.

Bushman said he also hopes to move to a second phase of the project, marking and documenting the gravestones for future generations.

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