Springfield News-Sun: “Cemetery Grateful for Eagle Scout Candidate’s Work”


Naomi Harward/240-298-8362


The staff at Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum in Dayton continue to express their gratitude for Eagle Scout candidate Charles Chapski’s work on their site this summer.

In order to earn the Eagle Scout rank, an achievement only 4% of Boy Scouts reach, Chapski was required to organize, lead, and see to completion an approved community service project.

Chapski said he approached Rufus Slade, the property manager at Woodland, about doing a project after his mother, Paula, and her coworker mentioned the cemetery.

Slade said that over the course of the conversation, Chapski mentioned that he and his troop had done brush-clearing projects in the past, and it sparked an idea. Slade showed Chapski an overgrowth of honeysuckle that was growing and into Steward Street adjacent the fence line, and also into the gravesite.

“He kind of fell for that project right away,” Slade said.

Planning for the project began in June, Chapski said. In late July, Chapski’s team of 7 volunteers spent 2 weekends clearing away the overgrowth. They cleared out about 200 yards, putting in a total of 142 hours of work.

“There was a night-and-day difference when they were done,” said Sean O’Regan, President CEO of Woodland.

Chapski and his parents said they were skeptical that they would complete the project in time. It was hard finding people available to volunteer, Chapski said, and getting the paperwork and planning in order was stressful.

“None of us really thought we were going to do it,” he said.

Slade and O’Regan both expressed their surprise in how quickly the team finished the project, and by how much they accomplished. Slade said that the team’s work gave him and his crew more time to work on other restoration projects around the cemetery.

Chapski said he enjoyed the “real-world” leadership experience this project gave him. He also said he enjoyed the opportunity to pay respect to those buried under unmarked graves on the plot. That area of the cemetery is one of Dayton’s old potter’s fields and was a gravesite for indigents in the past, according to Slade.

According to their site, Woodland cemetery is one of the oldest garden cemeteries in the nation, and the burial site for several historic figures. “Thousands tour the grounds each year,” the site says.

O’Regan said the project made the cemetery look ten times better, and both Woodland and the plot owners are grateful for Chapski’s service.

Naomi HarwardComment