The Boy Scouts of America was founded in February of 1910 and in that time span has produced over two million Eagle Scouts in their 106 history. That may seem like a high number but when you consider that only 5% of all active scouts ever achieve that goal, the number of Eagle Scouts is small in comparison to the number of scouts counted to its ranks worldwide, which includes Europe, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Japan.
To obtain the rank of Eagle Scout, a scout must obtain at least 21 merit badges, demonstrate Scout Spirit through the Boy Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership, and lastly, complete an Eagle Scout service project that benefits the scout’s community, which the scout must plan, manage, and lead.
And boy, did David Swegle of Dixon, IL, pick an audacious project: headstone restoration. That’s right; Swegle is restoring headstones at his local cemetery.
Swegle was looking for a project that was rooted in both helping the community and that would feed his love of history. After contacting the Lee County Historical and Genealogical Society, he found out that the society’s president, Pat Gorman, was performing headstone restorations at their local cemetery. The two met and went to work identifying eight headstones in desperate need of some care.
Both Gorman and Tom Kitson, a Lee County Board Member, are overseeing the Swegle and helping him with the logistics and documentation needed for this undertaking, which will including cleaning, re-lettering where needed, and overall repair of the headstones.