Rylee Both of Wantage recently submitted her Gold Award Project, which makes sure all military war veterans buried in the Newton Cemetery are properly recognized for their service to our country.
Rylee did months of research at the Sussex County Library. She reviewed the “Sons of Sussex” about local Civil War veterans and several locally published VFW books. She read archived newspapers, did online research, and consulted with Newton VFW Post 5360 commander and vice-commander as well as Newton Cemetery’s supervisor.
She was able to compile a list of 719 war veterans buried in the cemetery, which is located on Lawnwood Avenue. More than 250 veterans had not been previously recognized with a flag or war marker.
Using her list and an outdated map of the Newton Cemetery, Rylee walked the cemetery’s 24 acres to locate all the military service members who served during a war. Rylee and her three team members found the gravesites of all 719 war veterans.
Although a very time-consuming project, Rylee achieved her goal, The gravesites of all known veterans were decorated with an American flag and an appropriate war flag marker.
On Aug. 19, Rylee presented her project to the Newton VFW Post 5360. She provided the commander with a typed copy of her list as well as a 43-inch colored-coded map showing the location of each veteran by plot number and war served using the map’s key.
In turn, Rylee was presented with a Certificate of Achievement and Leadership as well as a commemorative coin signifying the post’s 75th anniversary.
Rylee has been an active Scout for over 12 years, most recently as a Senior Scout in Troop 994. She submitted her Girl Scout Gold Award Final Report for approval by the Girl Scout Northern New Jersey Council.
Whether or not Rylee is successful in attaining her Gold Award, she hopes the work she accomplished inspires others to do the same.