PIQUA — One Piqua teen is using his Eagle Scout project to honor veterans’ resting places at Forest Hill Cemetery.
Elijah Bloom, 17, recently finished his project of attaching veterans’ markers to the bases of the grave stones rather than having them stuck in the ground. The markers, which distinguish what war or military conflict the veteran served in, were straightened up and uniform with each other.
Bloom said that Jim Roth, superintendent of Forest Hill Cemetery, reached out to him and other Boy Scouts about having Eagle Scout projects done at Forest Hill Cemetery.
“I expressed interest in doing the veterans’ section because it had fallen into a little bit of disrepair,” Bloom said. “All of the markers that you see were kind of haphazard and scattered.”
Bloom used silicone to attach approximately 170 markers to grave stone bases, bringing them out of the ground and out of the way of lawn equipment. His project took about a month to plan and then a month to execute, making up approximately 40 hours of work.
“The project was for my Eagle, but I thought it went deeper,” Bloom said.
Bloom hopes that his contributions to the veterans’ section of Forest Hill Cemetery will “continue their legacy and help remember them.”
Bloom also has a personal connection to veterans through his father, Bob Bloom, who is also a Piqua firefighter.
“My dad’s actually a retired Marine,” Bloom said. This has contributed to Bloom having a deeper respect for veterans after hearing his father’s stories and his relationship with his dad.
Bloom, a senior at Piqua High School and a member of Boy Scout Troop 295, is not quite an Eagle Scout yet, but this project was the big hurdle for him. He has been a Boy Scout for around six years, but he has been participating in Boy Scout events for around 12 years. He also has approximately 29 merit badges.
“I always tagged along,” Bloom said. “It’s kind of always been in my family.”
Much of what has kept him involved are the variety of outdoor activities and the camaraderie of getting to meet new people he might not have otherwise gotten to meet.
“I get to do a lot of things people don’t get to do,” Bloom said, listing activities including horseback riding, shooting, camping, hiking, and more.
Overall, Bloom hopes that his contribution to the veterans’ section will be lasting element there and will help preserve and honor the memories and sacrifices of those veterans.
“It’s really awesome,” Bloom said.
Reach Sam Wildow at [email protected] or (937) 451-3336