by Marian Leavitt Levasseur
Barefoot Tracks In Vermont
A new addition to the East Barnard Cemetery is a small podium, which holds a book compiled by Ben Leavitt with names and locations of graves. A program was held at the cemetery on Saturday, June 18, 2011 with between 25-30 people in attendance, including several Boy Scouts and Scout Leaders. Fourteen-year-old Ben Leavitt of Woodstock Troop 220 was the master of ceremonies and explained how he felt the need for reference material to aid visitors and researchers in locating graves of friends and loved ones. He decided to make maps of the cemetery and have them available for local and public use.
After enlisting the approval of Barnard Cemetery Commissioners, Rodney Croft and Marian Levasseur, Ben began a two-year project to fulfill his dream and his Boy Scout recognition.
Ben placed a book inside the podium and presented another book to Barbara Butler as a donation to the Barnard Historical Society. The podium will be dismantled and stored inside the church during the winter months.
Ben lives with his parents Dan and Jill Leavitt and his sister, Katie on Walker Hill in East Barnard. He attends school in Woodstock.
“Congratulations Ben, and thank you for a good job well done!”
The following are introductory remarks given by Benjamin Leavitt at the dedication:
“I started this project in 2009 to earn my Star Boy Scout rank. The idea came to me when I saw people in the cemetery looking for gravestones, and realized that we needed a way for people to find the stone they were looking for, or even if it exists in this cemetery. Originally I went around to different gravestones gathering data, and entering it into a computer, which took a long time.
I therefore attempted to make a database to enter the data easily through a homemade entry form. However, I quickly fulfilled my required six hours of service work for my Star rank and set the project aside.
Later, when I needed to do another community service project for my Life Scout rank, I got back into the same project, changing the system into a spreadsheet database, and borrowed already acquired information from the Barnard Historical Society.
That sped up the process greatly, and I was able to finish the database, and build this podium with a generous donation of lumber from Bethel Mills, and help from Jim Blanchard, a scoutmaster from my Troop. Through our combined efforts, we were able to create this book and podium for all to use.
This book can help you find the names, dates of birth or death, age and the location of each person buried in this cemetery. It is welcome to edits and corrections, as this is a growing document. May it be useful to all who may need it.”
This article first appeared in the June 30th print edition of the Vermont Standard.