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.

Three Belmont High Scouts Earn Their Eagle Wings

Photo: Belmont’s Eagle Scouts: Clay Moyles, Luke Peterson, Calvin Reinhardt-Ertman.

On Sunday, March 20, Belmont’s Troop 66 awarded Eagle Scout awards to three distinguished Belmont High School students: Clay Moyles, Calvin Reinhardt-Ertman and Luke Peterson.

As the highest rank in Scouting, the Eagle Badge requires notable discipline and sustained effort to achieve. It is estimated that fewer than seven percent of all Scouts attain this goal. Research indicates that those who do continue to distinguish themselves in later life through community volunteerism, charitable donations, environmental stewardship and professional leadership.

“Clay, Calvin and Luke are dedicated and accomplish Scouters who, through their Eagle Projects, have made a lasting impact on the town of Belmont. They personify the spirit of service and leadership that Scouting is all about,” said Scoutmaster Jesse Barnes.  

Their combined Eagle Projects resulted in more than 500 hours of community service rendered by Scouts and other volunteers that have benefitted the Town of Belmont and its residents in multiple ways.

Clay Moyles, a senior at Belmont High School, created a new logo for the Belmont Food Pantry, as well as a 24/7 drop-off container and signs to direct Belmont residents to the Pantry’s drop-off location. 

A BHS Honors student, Clays plays the alto saxophone in the Wind Ensemble and played varsity Golf and Lacrosse. He was the recipient of Boston Globe Silver Key for Arts in 2012.

Calvin Reinhardt-Ertman organized Scouts and other volunteers to re-landscape a portion of Belmont Town Hall’s grounds, planting them with winterberry, bearberry and other hardy native plants.

A junior at BHS, Calvin plays the violin in the orchestra. In summer 2015, he participated in the National Outdoor Leadership School, kayaking several canyons on the Green River in Utah and Colorado.

Luke Peterson worked with the Belmont Department of Public Works to direct groups of Scouts in building three A-frame picnic tables that have been placed on Belmont parks to increase use and enjoyment. 

Luke is an Honors and AP student at Belmont High School who has excelled in soccer and track and was a standout player for the Marauder’s varsity Basketball.

Clay, Calvin, and Luke participated in Troop 66’s 2014 High Adventure Trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.  They hiked extensively in Kings Canyon National Park and summited Mount Whitney—which, at 14,505 feet, is the highest peak in the lower 48 States.