Finding Belmont’s Honored Dead Made Easier By Eagle Scout’s Work

Photo: Belmont Eagle Scout Oliver Leeb with the Belmont Board of Selectmen.

In Belmont’s two burial grounds, those interned who served the country hold an honored place in the town.

But for relatives and historians, locating one of the 1,800 military service dead was haphazard at best as individuals would need to hunt between several sources and town departments then having to scour the sites to find the precise location.

Now those seeking the resting places of veterans have a new resource to make the task easier, all thanks to the effort of a Belmont Eagle Scout.

Belmont High School Senior Oliver Leeb of Troop 304 have created a system that will allow loved ones a database/map that reduces what formerly took three or four tasks to just one.

“It was a great project because it has a practical application,” said Leeb, before being presented a certificate of appreciation from the Belmont Board of Selectmen last wee. 

The work began as Leeb sought a local project as part of his Eagle Scout requirement which led him to Belmont’s Veteran’s Agent Bob Upton. After discussing what was on Upton’s wish list, they came up with a badly needed updating of the existing catalog. 

Before the new system, there was a rudimentary list of the dead in alphabetical order that gave only a general location of the grave. 

“It really needed to be updated especially with the number of veterans buried here and the lack of specific locations of the graves,” said Leeb, who will be graduating in June and heading to Brandeis in the fall. 

Under Leeb’s initiative, individual graves were given specific numbers that created a database corresponding to a map of the grave sites. 

“So now using the map and the database, you can find the grave of any veteran that you wanted to find,” he said.

Leeb leaves a system that can be expanded to use GPS coordinates to pinpoint a grave on a digital map and also include the history of the veteran such as dates and where they served.

“There is so much history that can be included. We have veterans from the Grand Army of the Republic who fought in the Civil War,” said Leeb, noting it could be a project for another scout to consider.