Austin Erich, a 17-year-old boy from from Ridgway, Colorado, has restored 55 civil war veteran’s headstones and is being honored for it.
For a long time now, scouts always place American flags on the graves of veterans on the eve of Memorial Day. 2 years ago, when Eagle Scout Austin placed flags on the veterans’ gravestones around his residence, he noticed they were in an awful condition and was heartbroken by it. Some of the gravestones were sinking into the ground, others were blurred and dirty.
Austin told his dad that some of the headstones were so damaged you couldn’t even read the names on them. “He said, ‘This isn’t right for a veteran to lose recognition,’” Austin’s dad, Chris Erich, told the Courier Express.
Determined to do something about it, the teen committed to a 2-year project to restore 55 Civil War veteran headstones in his local community. Now, he is being honored with a special ceremony for all his hard work and noble course.
Austin held several fundraisers to collect the money he needed for this project, including a bake sale, spaghetti dinner and hot dog stand. He managed to raise over $7,000 to complete the project replacing footers, new markers, and helping to dig up and replace two of the headstones by machine.
He also researched 68 local Civil War veterans for a book to document his achievements.
“He has a lot of pride for people who have served in the military,” Erich’s dad told the Courier Express. “He would always go up to them and shake their hands.”
A public ceremony for Austin and his project will be held at the Ridgway Fire Department on North Broad Street on Nov. 17.
The teen revealed he plans to read the Civil War veterans’ names and contributors to the project, and have the book on display.
What an amazing and selfless act of kindness! Well done Austin, we salute you!
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