OPELIKA, Ala.- It’s not every day when you hear of a 16-year-old that is aiming to restore a cemetery. Kyle Graddy, a 16-year-old Lee Scott Academy student fits that bill.
Back in July, he began a Kickstarter campaign to restore the historic Ross Cemetery in Opelika off India Road. His goal was $950, but he raised more than $1,400. He said he was heavily surprised when he surpassed the goal because he was nervous they wouldn’t be able to reach the minimum. He added that any leftover funds will be given to the Lee County Cemetery Preservation Commission for future projects.
The cemetery is the final resting place for some veterans, and Kyle wanted to preserve their legacy and restore the cemetery they are buried in. Work started on the project earlier this month. Some of the weeds have been sprayed down and removed. Low-lying limbs have been cut down. Trash has been removed.
Graddy said the cemetery is 25% completed, and he said it has been amazing to see the transformation right before his very eyes.
“It’s been nice to see it become more apparent to what’s over here,” Graddy said. “We’ve gotten several compliments from people on the job we did on this side. It’s now much more noticeable that it’s a cemetery because you can see there’s graves here, and there’s clearly something here other than a wooded lot.”
Graddy said a path that leads to the back of the cemetery needs to be filled, a fence and post need to be added and some more undergrowth needs to be removed.
For Graddy, this is the biggest thing he’s done in his life up until this point, adding that the coordination that has gone into this project is something he’s never done before, but he is extremely grateful for all of the assistance in the project so far.
He is excited to see the fruits of all those who’ve labored on this project, and hopes that the project can serve as an inspiration to others.
I think it’s be great to see other young people getting involved in community projects and helping clean up their communities,” Graddy said. “Not just in cemeteries, but all around.”
Another work session is planned this Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Anyone interested in helping is asked to contact Graddy at email@example.com