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BLACKFOOTâ€”Fourteen-year-old Brody Harrison has been searching the past year for the perfect Eagle Scout project. His mother, Karla Harrison, read an article about State Hospitals South's cemetery and the need for headstones to mark the graves of over 100 residents buried there.
"My mom mentioned the idea of raising money to purchase more headstones for my Eagle Scout project and I thought it was a great idea," Brody said. "My project will be to raise money for more headstones."
According to Tracey Sessions, State Hospital South's administrator, over 1,000 people were buried in the hospital's cemetery between 1886 and the early 1980s. Hundreds of the graves were unmarked. Fundraising efforts started two years ago to mark the graves with flat, granite engraved headstones. About 120 headstones have been placed, but Sessions said her goal is to place 300 more headstones in the next year.
"There are Civil War Veterans, stillborn babies born to patient mothers and mentally ill patients who suffered from tuberculosis, dementia, epilepsy and other neurological disorders buried there," Sessions said. "Every one of us wants someone to remember who we were and our life story. Providing a grave marker is an opportunity to recognize these patients who were pioneers in the treatment of mental illness."
With the help of his Scout Troop No. 203 (under the leadership of his father, Michael Harrison, and Clint Leland) a team of volunteers and generous donations from local businesses (Pendleton Flour Mill, Walmart and Ridley) Brody has launched a "Spudnut" donut-making campaign to raise money for headstones.
The troop will be taking orders for the glazed donuts at $8 per dozen (plus one dozen donut holes).
Brody's goal for this project is to purchase at least 10 headstones. Each headstone (including engraving and placement costs $74.)
"It's all about providing a service for those who have passed on and allowing them the dignity that their condition did not offer them while they were alive," Brody said.
Brody will be starting the 10th grade at Blackfoot High School this year and has already earned all but two of the required merit badges. He hopes to earn 27-29 merit badges in all.
The donuts will be made and delivered on Aug. 16. Delivery will be provided to local businesses (within a limited delivery area) upon request or the donuts can be picked up at the Groveland LDS Chapel between noon and 5 p.m.
For more information or to order donuts in support of Brody's Eagle Scout project, call 208-980-7417 or email email@example.com