Student is Girl Scouts ‘Gold’


By James Perry

For Miami Valley Today

COVINGTON — In attaining the Girl Scouts Gold Award, which is the Girl Scouts’ highest honor, Emily Schafer, 17, has done something patriotic in order to help four veterans she never met. Schafer has worked to restore these veteran’s broken or damaged tombstones at Highland Cemetery as part of her pursuit for the Gold Award.

“I went to a veteran’s memorial service at the Dayton Veteran’s Administration Cemetery last year, it was so beautiful there, so perfect,” she said. “I am a cross-country runner and I come through Highland Cemetery all the time, I saw these broken and worn Civil War-era stones, and I thought these veterans deserve better than this.”

The Gold Award is equivalent to the Eagle Scout Award in the Boy Scouts. Schafer, a junior at Covington High School, is known as a Girl Scout “Juliette,” which means she is an individual Girl Scout completing her tasks, not part of a troop. The program is named for the founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low.

As monuments and memorials are being removed and destroyed around the United States, Schafer has taken a novel approach to honor our veterans and preserving their graves.

“We cannot forget, erase, or reimagine our history, we cannot reshape it, and we cannot move it to suit us all, but we can accept and honor our history for what it is by preserving it,” she said.

When the replacement tombstones for the four veterans were in place, the four tombstones were rededicated, complete with a 21-gun salute from the American Legion post. The veterans being honored include John T. Adams, 1838-1863, Pvt, Co C, 94th Ohio Infantry; John C. Frey, 1847-1906, Co C, 21st Reg. Penn. Cavalry; Christopher Baumann, 1832-1900, Pvt, Battery I, 1st Ohio Light Artillery; and Nicholas Raplyea, 1838-1887, Pvt, Co A, 110th Ohio Infantry.

The process of doing the research on the soldiers, getting the project approved by the VA, managing the logistics, and replacing the tombstones, took Schafer 159 hours. She also organized the work party at the cemetery.

Only 5.9 percent of Girl Scouts receive the Gold Award.

Schafer will be a counselor at Buckeye Girls State this summer, and she plans to attend The Ohio State University to study Paleontology after she graduates high school.

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