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Eagle Scout project transforms Baby Agnes Doe memorial

For the past year, Jonathan Hampton, an eleventh grade student at Tyrone Area High School, has been working to fulfill the requirements to become an Eagle Scout.
His project idea was to update the memorial grave site for Baby Agnes Doe in Oak Grove Cemetery.
On February 5, 1987, the remains of a female infant were discovered in an abandoned dump on Kerbaugh Road near Bellwood. After months of investigation, the remains of the baby were turned over to the Knights of Columbus.
A “Mass of the Angels” was celebrated on June 20, 1987, giving the child the dignified Christian burial that she deserved. She was then given the name Baby Agnes Doe, after Saint Agnes, the patron Saint of little girls.
Her remains were then buried in a plot of land set aside by St. Matthew Parish that would serve as a focal point for Pro-Life activities.
Each year, the Annual Respect Life March is held in January. The event begins with a prayer service in St. Matthew Church and then participants walk the 1.25 miles to Oak Grove Cemetery to the grave of Baby Agnes Doe for another short prayer service.
What has happened over the years is grave stones began crowding the existing site. To help remedy this, Jonathan began to make plans to move the grave site and create a memorial large enough to support the gathering held there each January.
Last March, Hampton starting putting together his ideas for the new memorial. By October, the physical work began.
Ray’s Burial Vault helped get things started by moving the actual grave site to a large open area at the other end of the cemetery.
A statue was then chosen and purchased from Mayes Memorials.
Pavers were placed around the grave to create an area to gather.
The 20th Annual Respect Life March will be held tomorrow and participants will gather for the first time at the new monument.
But while it may be ready for visitors, Hampton said the project is not completely done. Plans still include the addition of benches and some further landscaping. He anticipates the final project will be complete this spring.
Jonathan wanted to express his thanks to the many people and organizations that have helped throughout this process.
He said Mayes Memorials placed the statue and helped move the dedication stone from the old site to its new home. Ray’s Burial Vault moved the grave site and New Enterprise donated the underlayment material (screenings) for the project.
Also, the Knights of Columbus from St. Matthew Church, gave a monetary donation to help pay for the statue.
Although he hasn’t come up with a final tally, Jonathan estimates the project’s cost, once complete, will exceed $5,000. Currently, about $1,200 more is needed to cover costs. A fundraiser will be planned at a later date to help raise the necessary funds.
Anyone who wishes to make a donation is invited to send a check, made payable to Jonathan Hampton, c/o Eagle Scout Project, 410 Park Avenue, Tyrone, Pa. 16686.
For questions, call 684-4099.
Jonathan wanted to say, “thank you to everyone who has helped with this project.”
Community members can see Jonathan’s work tomorrow when the 20th Annual Respect Life March will be held beginning at noon at St. Matthew Church. Participants will then walk to the grave site of Baby Agnes Doe where a short prayer service will be held.
A hot luncheon will be served in the parish hall after the march.
Individuals are encouraged to bring a sign; those unable to walk this distance can feel free to join in by driving at the end of the procession.
The march is sponsored by the St. Gregory Council No. 1218 Knights of Columbus.
Jonathan is a member of Troop No. 20 from the Church of the Good Shepherd. He has been involved with Scouts for about nine years. His Scoutmaster is Cummins McNitt and his dad, Wilson Hampton, Jr., serves as Assistant Scoutmaster.