Teenager looks to restore Opelika cemetery and honor veterans

Graddy kneels by a grave of one of the veterans

OPELIKA, Ala. — Kyle Graddy is a 16-year-old who goes to Lee Scott Academy in Auburn. He is on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. The last step in the process is his Eagle Scout Project.

Kyle Graddy, of Auburn
Kyle Graddy, of Auburn

For his project, he plans to restore Ross Cemetery, a historic African-American cemetery in Opelika. He says he drove by the cemetery almost every day, but did not know what it was due to all of the overgrown trees and grass. One day he got out and looked at the lot and found two gravestones. When he did some more investigating, he discovered that there are veterans from World War I and II buried there.

“It’s sad to know that their graves are becoming overgrown no one can even tell that they are buried here- served in the trenches of World War I, and now they are just essentially lost in this undergrowth,” Graddy said.

Graddy kneels by a grave of one of the veterans
Graddy kneels by a grave of one of the veterans

Graddy wants to remove the undergrowth, put a chain-link fence along the cemetery and make a gravel trail that takes you to the back of the cemetery. He says he wanted to revitalize the cemetery before his Eagle Scout project came up, and he said doing it for the project was a perfect match.

He started a Kickstarter campaign for the project, and he is halfway to his goal for the project. He says the donations have been overwhelming. Graddy plans to have the project completed by the end of the year. He says even though the road ahead will be tough, honoring those who paid the ultimate price will be worth it.

“It will be nice knowing that I’ve done something and being able to see the fruits of labor from all of those who helped out,” Graddy said.

You can find the link to Graddy’s Kickstarter here.



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