Eagle Scout candidate Tanner Melton, volunteers spread gravel over the area and fence construction continues

 Volunteers and gravel covered the old Midway Cemetery as a joint project between an Eagle Scout candidate and the West Side Cemetery District is making the once neglected graveyard a more respectful place for the graves of early Taft residents.

Most of the project is expected to be completed in the next couple of weeks and a dedication ceremony is now planned to be held in the middle of the 2015 Oildorado Celebration

Tanner Melton is working towards his Eagle Scout Award by organizing the work to build a fence, spread gravel around and later to install new headstones at the old cemetery at the foot of 25 Hill just south of the end of Lierly Avenue.

He got on board in May when Sterling Bryant told of the plans for the cemetery and the Cemetery District's needs. He contacted Joel Bauer, manager of the Cemetery District and got on board.

His family's business, Jerry Melton and Sons Construction is donating a lot of labor and equipment, and General Production provided low cost gravel.

Bright and early Saturday morning, several dozen volunteers descended on the cemetery with rakes, shovels and pry bars to spread gravel and lift headstones so they could be raised about the gravel (which will help alleviate erosion problems).

Melton watched the progress.

The Eagle Scout Award is about being a leader, Melton said.

“ I'm leading people and telling them which jobs need help and their jobs are,” he said. “That's the whole point of the Eagle Scout – to show leadership.”

He was very happy to see the turnout Saturday morning.

“It's nice to see so many people who came out to help. There's even people I've never even seen before,” he said.

He's got a lot of help from his father Steve as well, he said.

A concrete foundation is being laid around the cemetery and a wrought-iron fence is being installed.

New granite gravestones have been ordered, but they won't arrive in time for the dedication, Bauer said.

The dedication will be held on Oct. 13 at 10 a.m.