(KUTV) A once forgotten cemetery is brought to life again thanks to the vision of a 17-year-old girl. It all started when the Bingham High School student found something in the trash that made her want to make a difference.
Out here on the far west end of old Bingham Highway, in the wide open fields, sits a forgotten cemetery. It's a place with hundreds of no name graves; the only marking on many of the graves is a rusted out metal plate with no identification.
It's a site that touched the heart of Stephanie Jencks, 17, who decided to do something had to be done. It was a year ago on Memorial Day weekend when Stephanie got the inspiration and she enlisted a small army of fellow Bingham High School students to help. "I was walking and I found this rusty metal marker in the trash can and this is what made me want to start the project, because these people are being forgotten. A marker, no matter what it looks like, does not belong in the trash can. These people are being forgotten and that just really hurt."
There are more than 1800 people buried in this cemetery from 30 different countries, 1100 of them are unknown; unknown but now not forgotten.
Stephanie started researching the cemetery records to find out who was buried there. She discovered that there was no telling what names went with which graves, so she came up with an idea to make headstones with the wording - "unknown but loved." She presented her idea to her school club, Skills USA. They loved the idea and the kids went to work pouring the molds making 130 headstones with the wording "unknown but loved." they've put more than 160 hours into this project.
Bingham's Skills USA chapter ended up winning a first place state service competition, but for these kids it's not about winning a competition. The project is about bringing a cemetery to life that was literally becoming the dust of the earth.
Stephanie's original plan was to make this a Girl Scout project, but as more kids got involved it turned into something much larger. Stephanie says this is not the end, she says there is always more to do and considers this a lifelong project.
For more information on this project go to: http://binghamcemetery.com/unknown-but-loved
By: Dan Rascon
(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)