FORT LEE, Va. (March 13, 2014) -- A 200-year-old Petersburg graveyard was the focus of a March 1 volunteer project for 35 lieutenants from the Army Logistics University.
The officers of Quartermaster Basic Officer Leader Course, Class 14-004 (92 Alpha), spent a morning at the historic Peoples Cemetery picking up trash, collecting downed tree limbs and assisting rangers from the National Battlefield in Petersburg with grave documentation and identification for headstone repair.
Ranger Leslie McClammy coordinated the project. She said the volunteer Army officers will be returning to continue the documentation work. “Of particular importance are the military headstones that are being entered into an archival database and scheduled for eventual replacement by the Department of Veterans Affairs,” she said.
The cemetery is a historic African-American burial ground dating back to the 19th century. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008 and became a stop on the Network of Freedom in recognition of its connection to the Underground Railroad.
Second Lt. Nathan McClean, project coordinator for the BOLC class, said the entire group of junior officers is quite pleased with the work they performed. “When you hear the history of the cemetery, you can’t help being excited about any contribution that supports its preservation,” McClean said. “It was an exciting event for us, and we have decided to do another cleanup event at the site later this month.”
Community outreach is part of the Program of Instruction for BOLC classes, noted Capt. William Quickly, a course director. “These projects build awareness, promote camaraderie and give something back to the neighboring communities.”
Army Volunteer Corps Coordinator Susan Loden also pointed out that National Volunteer Week is April 6-13. “Volunteering is a great way for Team Lee members to expand their knowledge of the area,” she said. “You’ll develop a better appreciation of what the local communities have to offer while experiencing the satisfaction of helping others.”