By Martha Bowles
Phillip Maggio with Boy Scout Troop 262 sponsored by Aldersgate United Methodist Church had been looking for an Eagle project for over a year. Lots of opportunities crossed his path, but nothing seemed to be the right project for him. He wanted something unique and meaningful. His inspiration would come from an unexpected source.
While sitting at home watching the news with his family he saw a report about an area cemetery with a resident deer that had become friends with a stray dog. The report was about the bond between the two animals and how the dog had to be taken to a foster home to protect it from the winter weather. During the report, they mentioned that the 43 acre cemetery relied solely on volunteers to maintain the grounds. It was that moment that Phillip knew he had found what he had been looking for.
Elmwood Cemetery on Truman Road was founded in 1872 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a place where many of Kansas City ‘s past, including many of it’s founders, have found their final resting place.
It is full of the stories of the past from when Kansas City was a frontier town, the growth of the railroad, and even the modern era. It is a place where loved ones can go to pay their respects in a comforting setting. Over time, headstones may shift or be overtaken by nature.
Phillip’s Eagle Project was to rejuvenate an area of the cemetery so that it continues to be a place of peace for those that visit. In doing so, he also protected a bit of our history and the stories of our past.
After months of planning, Phillip gathered a crew of 20 workers at the Elmwood Cemetery on April 27, 2013. Over the course of the day they re-set and cleaned over 100 headstones.
Of course, Ella the deer, the reason Phillip discovered this opportunity, was on hand to inspect their work.
After spending a combined 98 hours of work that day, the crew left knowing they had made a difference to the lives of others. In addition to the physical labor provided by this project, Phillip was also able to obtain $300 in donations for the cemetery to use to purchase new headstones.
Congratulations to Phillip Maggio on a job well done and on moving one step closer to achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.