Rebecca Shissler’s 97-year-old grandfather fought in World War II, and honoring the military is important to her and her family.
That’s how a project, whose original goal was simply mapping the grave sites at Eastview Union Cemetery in Delmont, grew to include a veterans’ memorial with a bench, a paver program to solicit additional donations, a flagpole and plans to expand.
Shissler and the other members of Girl Scout Troop 24142 out of Delmont had their efforts recognized Friday when they receive a 2018 Youth Award from the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors during their convention. The award was presented during the Westmoreland County Association of Township Officials’ annual convention in North Huntingdon.
For her Girl Scout Silver Award, Shissler initially set out to create a map of the veterans buried at the cemetery off of East Pittsburgh Street, color-coded to denote which war each veteran fought. Graves at the cemetery date back as far as the Civil War.
As the troop solicited business and community donations to help fund the project, it began to expand, ultimately into a granite bench inscribed with a design Shissler created, a 25-foot flagpole, inscribed pavers, a garden and an information kiosk.
Scouts solicited more than $3,700 in community donations to help fund the project, and also worked with Eastview’s cemetery director to identify the graves of 243 veterans and create the color-coded map.
“We and the Boy Scouts come up here every year and place flags on veterans’ graves,” Shissler said. “So when I was looking for a Silver Award project, this came to mind right away, trying to do more to recognize the veterans here.”
Shissler’s mother Andrea said there are also plans to expand the memorial based on continued paver sales.
Both Rebecca and Andrea thanked the project donors and local veterans’ groups.
“Once word got out to the different vet groups, they started coming out of the woodwork wanting to participate once the project got a little traction,” Andrea said.
The association established the Youth Awards Contest in 1993 to recognize “outstanding community service contributions made by youth groups throughout the Commonwealth.”