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Teen spends Saturday at cemetery to earn Eagle Scout badge

McDuffie County Boy Scout Troop 125 got up bright and early Saturday to do some much-needed upkeep at Thomson Memorial Cemetery.

Jack Barnes said he had seen some of the deterioration at the cemetery near his home on Beechwood Drive and decided it would be ideal for the final community service project that he had to organize in order to get an Eagle badge.

He contacted David Moore and the other members of the cemetery's board of directors, who helped Barnes put together a scope of work.

Ten of the 12 members of the troop arrived at the cemetery at 8 a.m. -- along with Moore and troop leader Donnie Reese -- and worked past noon to fill sunken graves and repair broken tombstones. As long as it's approved by the review board, it will have been the final project for the 17-year-old, who started in scouts when he was 6 years old.

"It's more than just tying knots," said the senior at Augusta Prep who moved to Thomson two years ago.

"It sort of taught me independence in a way."

Barnes' father, John Barnes, is the pastor at Thomson First United Methodist Church, the sponsor for the project. He said while Jack was in troops in Lawrenceville, Thomaston and finally Thomson, his son got a chance to do a lot of camping that he never would have done with the family.

"He learned a lot of self-reliance, and that to me is the best thing," Barnes said.

Moore was appreciative of the work done by Barnes and the rest of the scouts, although he said plenty of repairs still need to be made. The board relies on donations to pay for the upkeep of the grass, and most repairs to the tombstones and other areas come from community service projects.

Barnes might have reached the top of the Boy Scout ladder, but he assured his fellow troop members that he'll be at the next meeting, and he plans to help the other Life Scouts as much as he can when the time comes for their final projects.

Web posted on Thursday, August 25, 2011

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