Scouts in the News!

Volunteers at the Old Macomb Cemetery cleanup, left to right: Scoutmaster Sue Nolan, Gil Belles (MCHS), Jeffery Hutchins, Quintin Rossmiller, Brianna Drew, Jackson Matlak, Michael Dofing, Grayson Nolan, Thomas Engel, Matthew Lueck, John Lane, Colin Drew in front of Assistant Scoutmaster Steve Dofing, Corey Maisch, Sean Drew, Assistant Scoutmaster Dave Lueck, Timothy Vigezzi, Richard Engel, Assistant Scoutmaster John Drew, Evan Drew, Justin Rossmiller, and Assistant Scoutmaster John Vigezzi. 

Press Release
August 22, 2012
On a recent sunny and crisp weekend afternoon, the members of Boy Scout Troop #315 recruited friends and family members for a service project at the Old Macomb Cemetery on Wigwam Hollow Road.
The Old Macomb Cemetery is in the process of restoration, preservation, and beautification under the auspices of the McDonough County Historical Society (MCHS).
  The focus of this service project was identifying headstones that were leaning, or were partially or totally buried under earth and grass.
Fifteen members of Troop #315, chartered by Wesley United Methodist Church, plus a Girl Scout, dads, and Scout leaders learned about the citizens buried at this cemetery between 1830 and 1860. They located the markers for the veterans of the War of 1812, the Civil War, and the Black Hawk War. And they proceeded to uncover many headstones only partially visible above ground.
In addition to lifting and cleaning some of the markers, the volunteers poked and prodded the cemetery discovering markers totally buried.
Six markers were reset in place with correct procedures for excavation, hole preparation, and filling.
After two and one-half hours, the group could step back and take pride in considerable improvement in the condition of the headstones that got excavated, elevated, reset, and cleaned.
This is the second cemetery cleanup project initiated by Boy Scout Troop #315 under the leadership of Scoutmaster Sue Nolan.
The Boy Scout cleanup was in cooperation with the McDonough County Historical Society and its expanded cemetery restoration and preservation project at Old Macomb Cemetery.
Press Release
November 8, 2011
Tennessee Township  -  Gerald and Wayne White recently accepted a new sign for the White Cemetery donated  by the McDonough County Historical Society.
White Cemetery is located in Tennessee Township in McDonough County. It is an inactive cemetery founded in 1843 with approximately 60 graves interred from then to 1925.
There is one veteran of the Revolutionary War buried there, Thomas White who fought for independence. He was the first person buried in 1843.
This private cemetery has been on property in the hands of White’s descendants from the 1840s up to today.
In 1976, the McDonough County Bicentennial Commission, together with the local DAR, held a Revolutionary War Memorial service at the cemetery. A large medallion was set next to the government headstone for Thomas White. His is one of only four grave markers of veterans of the Revolutionary War in McDonough County.
Attending that ceremony in 1976, were four generations of Whites standing above four generations of Whites buried beneath.
Several days after the new sign was installed last month, members of Boy Scout Troop 315, chartered by the Wesley United Methodist Church of Macomb, attacked the weeds, brush, limbs, and branches and cleaned the cemetery down to its floor. 
In that process, they discovered quite a few headstones that had been totally covered with sod and grass. These young men restored a beautiful cemetery with a rich and fascinating history.
The cemetery sign project is supported by the McDonough County Genealogical Society and the McDonough County Historical Society.

Front page - McDonough County Voice, Thurs. Nov. 11, 2010

McDonough County Voice, March 31, 2010

Mcdonough County Choice, January 12th 2010, front page, page 2

McDonough County This Week, September 28th, 2009, page 10

McDonough County This Week, August 31, 2009 - page 11

Aspiring Eagle Scout builds bridge

By Erin McCarthy
Blake Andrews, 16, of Macomb, sits on the 64-foot wooden walkway he built for his Eagle Scout Project.
By Erin McCarthy
Macomb Journal
Macomb, Ill. -

Young scouts attending Cub Scout Day Camp at Spring Lake have a new, safer route to the boat dock.

Blake Andrews, 16, of Macomb, recently completed his Eagle Scout project, which consisted of building a 64-foot wooden walkway across a muddy and overgrown section of a trail leading from the lodge at Camp Chicagama to the boat dock.

The prospective Eagle Scout was required to complete a project that would need roughly 100 man hours and serve the community.

“When I was in Cub Scouts, we only used the trail once because it was all overgrown,” said Andrews. “It got so out of control, we had to walk down on the road. This is not only safer, but it's more convenient to just walk down the trail and go straight to the docks.”

Besides the 20 people who helped Andrews, the project took 185 man hours. Macomb's Fraternal Order of Police paid for all of the materials, and sent inmates from the McDonough County Jail to add the rocks and gravel to the trail.

Hurdles Andrews encountered during the project included finding a lumberyard with the right blocks, an auger's hydraulic breaks failing and dealing with the mostly clay ground. Andrews' team also spent several hours and "a lot of Round Up" clearing out the mass of poison ivy.

“It builds a lot of leadership,” said Andrews. “It shows you there's strength in numbers, and if you coordinate things, it can turn out like this.”

Andrews is a junior at Macomb High School and is also on the football and track and field teams.

McDonough County This Week, June 22, 2009 -- page 22

Macomb Eagle, Feb. 13, 2009

McDonough County This Week, Feb. 9, 2009

New trees at Argyle

  Macomb Journal

Colchester, Ill. -

Jack Laverdiere of Grand Prairie Assisted Living and Laverdiere Construction donated the use of a tree spade to Argyle Lake State Park to assist with a Park Beautification project. 

150 bur oak, white oak, swamp white oak, gingko and serviceberry were planted throughout the Park.

Two separate volunteer groups assisted Illinois Department of Natural Resources staff with the tree planting.  Boy Scout Troop 315, sponsored by Wesley United Methodist Church in Macomb helped plant the Twisted Oak Campground on a Sunday afternoon.  Scouts participating in the tree planting iclude Grayson Nolan, Dave Nolan, Michael Dofing, Steve Dofing, Justin Rossmiller, Quintin Rossmiller and Paul Kirwin.

As part of a Community Service Project, students from the Macomb Jr./Sr/ High Modular - fondly known as “The Mod Squad” - assisted staff with the tree planting at the Equestrian Campground and the Sunset Shelter.

The trees were obtained through a grant from the IL Department of Transportation.  The newly planted trees will help shade campsites and shelters and replace trees that have had to be removed.

Macomb Eagle, Nov. 19, 2008
Macomb Eagle, Nov. 19, 2008
Macomb Eagle, Nov. 5, 2008
Macomb Eagle, Nov. 5, 2008

Macomb Eagle, Oct. 22, 2008

Rehabbing History

By Bill Ford
A group of volunteers help clean up Stickle Cemetery, Saturday, as part of Ben Burdick’s Eagle Scout project.
By Bill Ford,Macomb Journal

Macomb, Ill. -

Stickle Cemetery was almost ready to disappear.

Tucked in a thicket of trees north of Macomb, just off Airport Road, the small grouping of tombstones and grave markers was nearly ready to succumb to the growing weeds and fallen trees that surrounded it.

Ben Burdick is making sure Stickle isn’t forgotten completely. As part of his Eagle Scout project, Burdick organized a crew to cut weeds and remove old trees so Stickle looks more like a cemetery again.

“It’s just been out here neglected a long time,” Burdick said. “The trees were bringing down tombstones left and right. I thought I’d come out here for my Eagle Scout project and bring it back.”

Burdick had a group of about 15 friends and family members on site Saturday clipping branches, sawing up old logs and cutting the tall grass with weed eaters.

“We’re hoping we can get it done in three work days,” Burdick said.

Burdick was turned onto Stickle Cemetery by Gil Belles, a former history professor at Western Illinois University and a member of the McDonough County Historical Society.
Belles said the cemetery holds great significance because it dates back to the era of Abraham Lincoln.

Nearby the site of the cemetery stands a house that was owned by the Stickle family, who are buried in the cemetery. Before the Stickles owned the property, there was a halfway house on the site where Abraham Lincoln stayed a few times.

Belles said the Historical Society often tries to rehabilitate and restore old cemeteries and he knew Burdick might be interested.

“When we find a cemetery like this that has a lot of historical integrity, we want to try to encourage people to clean it up,” Belles said. “I couldn’t think of a better thing for him to sink his teeth into.”

Burdick said a big challenge in the project has been getting the dead trees out without knocking down more stones.

“We’re thinking about setting up the stones again,” Burdick said. “The really thin ones are probably going to fall back over, so we figure we’ll leave them down. Some of them are buried. We’re just trying to uncover the history.”

Belles said during the cleanup, they found some plastic flowers by some of the graves indicating people had been out to visit at some point. Burdick hopes the cleanup will bring out even more visitors.

“I definitely think not many people know about this cemetery. It would be really nice to get the front open so people can get past and come out to see it,” Burdick said. “People will want to come out here and see their relatives. It’ll be interesting for them to find their family lineage.”

In the end, Belles said he hopes Burdick will inspire some other young people to get involved in similar cemetery restoration projects.

“It’s amazing to me that Ben is able to get this excited and interested in it. Younger kids don’t have the sense of mortality or history that older people do,” Belles said. “The service of cleaning it up for people to me is a fantastic community service project.

“I ‘m so glad a scout group is willing to take this on. Maybe this will percolate down to other younger kids.”

Scouts camp, clean at Argyle

By Special to The Macomb Journal
Macomb Journal

Macomb, Ill. - Special to the Macomb Journal
Boy Scouts of America Troop 315, Macomb, got a head start on Earth Day with a backpacking campout and clean up of Lake Argyle State Park earlier in April.
The Scouts met at the camp ground at Lake Argyle to set up their base camp and receive the clean up equipment from the rangers at the park. After the Scouts packed their backpacks with the equipment and lunch, the plan was to hike around the lake to the Twin Oaks campground and begin the service project of cleaning up the grounds. 
"The original idea of the campout was to do some training for our Appalachian Trail trip we have planned this summer," said Scoutmaster Paul Kirwan. 
"The Scouts also wanted to do something in conjunction with Earth Day, but with conflicting schedules we had to pick the weekend of April 12-13 to camp. The Scouts then decided that if they could not do an environmental project on the Earth Day Weekend then they would do the project when they were at the park camping and hiking. We really think of Lake Argyle as our home base for camping and use the park at least 5 to 6 times a year.  So what better way to repay our use than to continue a Scouting project that began a few years ago."
The Scouting project involved several Scout troops and crews in an Earth Day clean up and troop 315 has been continuing that project each year since then.
The training for the Appalachian Trail involved loading up a backpack and hiking around the lake and back to the campground for meals and advancement work. 
The troop made good time hiking around the lake on the roadway and after a quick lunch the clean up project began. 
"It was like an archeological discovery or viewing items from a time capsule." commented one of the Scouts. He was referring to the many beverage cans that the troop picked up from the area behind the campsites along the Doe Run Road. The scouts could not at first understand why the beverage cans were all rusty.  After a discussion about how beverages used to be packaged, in steel cans instead of aluminum, a really interesting discovery was made. One of the beverage cans was advertising an "Aluminum SoftTop" and sported the traditional triangular shape of the church key opener. Still the mood was one of disappointment that so many people would have such poor regard for one of the true treasures of our county and of Western Illinois. But with the true scouting spirit the troop filled nearly three 55-gallon trash barrels with the debris and made a pact to return to keep the area clean.
The troop logged nearly 20 miles hiking around the lake on Saturday and Sunday including the clean up project. The weather was a bit wet and cool but that did not stop the Scouts from preparing a good hot meal of soup for Saturday night.  Spirits went even higher when the campfire burst into life and a cheerful way to warm up with friends was created. After dinner, a rousing game of Grey Wolf and a bit of Hide and Seek in the dark was a fine way to generate some heat before turning into a warm sleeping bag for a good nights sleep. And just as the camp settled in for that good nights' sleep than Mother Nature gave a good reason to stay in the tents as a bit of icy rain fell to lull the scouts into slumber.
The Scouts attending the campout and completing nearly three hours of cleanup were Collin Anderson, Scott Knicl, Michael Dofing, Michael Nicholas, Rory Greer and Marschall Hall. Troop leaders Rodney Greer, Steve Dofing, Larry Knicl and Paul Kirwan assisted the Scouts. 
The Wesley United Methodist Church sponsors troop 315.
For information about scouting or to find how to join a Scouting organization please log onto

The Macomb Journal, Jan. 24, 2008