Northborough Girl Scout cleans grave markers for Silver Award project

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Northborough Girl Scout cleans grave markers for Silver Award project
Lana Ingerslev stands next to the grave markers in the Howard Street Cemetery that she cleaned as part of her Silver Award project. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

NORTHBOROUGH – The grave markers in the Howard Street Cemetery are shining more brightly, thanks to a local Girl Scout.

Lana Ingerslev, who is a freshman at Algonquin Regional High School, cleaned the markers as part of her Silver Award project.

The Silver Award is the second-highest award that a Girl Scout can receive.

“Lana’s restoration of some of our older cemetery memorials is a great example of civic pride and is truly appreciated by Public Works and members of our community,” said Director of Public Works Scott Charpentier.

Ingerslev, who enjoys history and science, has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten. The inspiration for her project began when her brother, who is a Boy Scout, was placing flags on veterans’ graves on Memorial Day. One of the mothers pointed out how difficult it was to read or see any of the details of any of the older graves, in particular.

“I was like, ‘Oh, that could actually be a really nice project,’” Ingerslev said.

At the same time, Ingerslev was planning on earning her Silver Award.

So, she did research on what materials she would need to clean the grave markers and reached out to officials to gain permission. Then, Ingerslev got to work.

“I went and found some graves that [needed] cleaning, and I got the right stuff and spent time cleaning them. They’ve turned out really great,” she said.

Ingerslev found a biological solution that she used called D/2, which she said is “perfectly harmless” to the environment and humans, and some of the other markers only needed Dawn soap. And a lot of brushing. She estimated that she went through three to four toothbrushes.

Ingerslev herself had cleaned about seven or eight of the grave markers by the end of September, and her mother cleaned about five to six.

But despite getting her Silver Award, Ingerslev had no plans to stop cleaning the markers.

“It’s just really nice. You sit there and you can listen to an audiobook or sit there and talk to someone, and you just scrub,” Ingerslev said. “A little physical labor, but meditative.”

Norm Corbin, who is the chair of the Historic District Commission, said it was a useful project for the community.

“The cleaned gravestones are pristine,” Corbin said. “She has demonstrated the best procedure for cleaning the stones, which will be very helpful for any future work. Her work is much appreciated.”