DERRY — Another eagle is about to fly as one Derry Boy Scout takes on a project to support the care and history of a local cemetery.

Dylan Navarro, a member of Boy Scout Troop 98, has taken on the project as he works toward his Eagle award, the highest honor given to Boy Scouts.

Navarro, fellow Scouts, troop leaders and volunteers are working on the care and cleaning of gravestones at Forest Hill Cemetery in East Derry. The historical spot is where many of the community’s earliest settlers are buried.

Through years and years of weather and settling of the landscape, many gravestones have been hidden under inches of grass and dirt, only barely peeking out or not seen at all.

Continuing on with an earlier project under the care of Boyd Mattson and Bob Copson, and followed by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1617 member Jim Ash, Navarro also wanted to work on the gravestone care effort, hoping to complete the cleaning and unearthing of hundreds of stones.

The work is meticulous. Volunteers gathered at Forest Hill last Saturday for a day of digging, edging and cleaning the engraved names and dates.

With rakes, gloves, brushes, and other special cleaning materials, volunteers and Scouts located the stones needing work, often going around the cemetery and tapping a rake handle or other sharp tool into the ground to locate a hidden stony grave.

Being a Scout is important, Navarro said, adding he has been part of the organization since he was very young.

“I’ve learned a lot,” he said.

Toss in the opportunity to use leadership skills and support the community, and the cemetery project was just right for his Eagle-status work.

Navarro had considered other ways to earn his award, which led the Scout to the local VFW where he decided to take on the cemetery work. Navarro also knew he wanted to support the local veterans organization.

“I’ve been helping them out for a while,” he said.

Navarro’s father, Jaime, said he is proud of his son and the path he is on, saying supporting veterans has topped the list.

“He’s always been a patriotic young man,” he said. “This project fits in to everything he likes.”

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