A careful restoration of veteran graves in Prairie Mound Cemetery is now complete, courtesy of a dedicated young Oregon resident.
Boy Scout, Nathan Grooms organized and directed the undertaking on Oct. 25 as the final step to achieving his Eagle Scout badge in Stoughton’s Troop 167. Having moved to Oregon seven years ago, he decided his Eagle Scout project should honor the veterans of his new hometown.
“The VFW marks the veterans’ graves in the cemetery, but over the years, some of them get bent or damaged from weed whackers, mowers or just weathering,” Grooms told the Observer. “We’re coming out and replacing some of the ones that are missing or damaged and then sprucing up some of the ones that are in better condition.”
Leading a team of around 15 fellow Scouts and Oregon Public Works employees, Grooms helped restore every veteran grave in the cemetery, including the final resting place of Revolutionary War veteran Nathaniel Ames. Volunteers scrubbed the face of each veteran gravestone and replaced several worn-out American flags, while every grave received a power wash, including those listed as non-veteran.
“I was afraid that only a few people would show up and I’d just be here by myself,” he said. “So it’s nice to see all these people come out. That means a lot for me just seeing this turnout.”
Grooms also mapped out the locations of all veteran graves in the cemetery, including those previously unmarked, and will give the map to the Oregon-Brooklyn VFW Post 10272 and the Village of Oregon for future projects.
“They have a list of (veterans’) names right now, but no actual map of where they are in the cemetery,” he said. “Hopefully with the help of a map, they’ll be able to do projects in the cemetery more easily.”