Mapping Is Complete On Rainelle Cemetery

Introducing new map of Rainelle Cemetery are (l-r) front row:  MeadWestvaco Administrative Assistant Julia Thompson, MeadWestvaco GIS Analyst Wes Johnson and Rainelle Mayor Andrea J. Pendleton.  Back row:  Don Ratliff, chair of Rainelle’s five Boy Scout projects; Jan Riffe, director of the cemetery mapping project; and Kevin WVVA-TV 6 reporter.

Introducing new map of Rainelle Cemetery are (l-r) front row: MeadWestvaco Administrative Assistant Julia Thompson, MeadWestvaco GIS Analyst Wes Johnson and Rainelle Mayor Andrea J. Pendleton. Back row: Don Ratliff, chair of Rainelle’s five Boy Scout projects; Jan Riffe, director of the cemetery mapping project; and Kevin WVVA-TV 6 reporter.

 

Rainelle Mayor Andrea J. “Andy” Pendleton unfurled a 4 x 6 foot map of the RainelleCemetery at the October 14th Town Council meeting.  The map locates every known grave as well as trees, the parking lot, and other features.

Wes Johnson, a Rainelle resident who is GIS Analyst at MeadWestvaco in Rupert, worked with the cemetery mapping project.

“We can never thank Wes enough,” Pendleton said.  “He worked with the Boy Scouts, gathering names on markers, birth and date and location, and after the Scouts left, used Global Positioning Software to create this beautiful map.”

“And our heartfelt thanks as well to MeadWestvaco’s Administrative Assistant, Julia Thompson, who laboriously put all the names, birth and death dates and GIS location in the cemetery into a data base.”

Pendleton showed the Council a printout of the data base listing grave sites by location in the cemetery and anther printout of names in alphabetical order.

“It was a volunteer thing by MeadWestvaco,” Administrative Assistant Julia Thompson said.  “Now people looking for relatives can look it up on map and go right to the location.”

To learn more about MeadWestvaco, visit www.mwv.com.

“Helping to map the Rainelle Cemetery was a great opportunity” Roger Sherman, MeadWestvaco Manager of Governmental Affairs & Public Relations said.  “This is our community and while our employees stay busy with their work here, they’re great to pitch in when they can help.”

Pendleton recounted the many steps and volunteers who worked on the Rainelle Cemetery projects.

“The map and cemetery data base of the cemetery represent the culmination of almost two years of volunteer work,” Pendleton said.   “It began in January last year (2012) when my special assistant, Joan C. Browning, wrote seven proposals for the Boy Scouts who attended the 2013 National Boy Scout Jamboree in Fayette County to perform volunteer services in Rainelle.

Five of Rainelle’s proposed Boy Scout projects were approved.

The Rainelle Cemetery proposal requested thirty-six Boy Scouts and volunteers to work about six hours a day for five days, for a total of about 180 Scouts and over a thousand hours of service.  Scouts would map the entire cemetery, record headstone information, and clean headstones with special solvent.  The Rainelle  Cemetery project was folded into another Scout project for clearing brush and undergrowth around the cemetery.

Eighty (80) Boy Scout volunteers came to Rainelle each day for five days, and 40 Scouts more came another day.  Each group was accompanied by several adult Scout leaders.  The Mayor met the Scouts at Dawson exit and rode with them on busses to Rainelle.  Rainelle Police Chief J. P. Stevens escorted the busses to Rainelle.

“Even though threatening weather called the Boy Scouts back to Fayetteville on two days, we estimate that they served well over 2,500 hours in Rainelle,” Pendleton said.  “The Scouts did great work for us on all the projects.  They really got much of the leg work on the cemetery mapping completed.”

“In addition, we were blessed with capable local volunteers,” Pendleton said.

Pendleton said that Don Ratliff volunteered to serve as the Town’s Scout projects manager.  In addition to the cemetery, Scouts worked on the walking trail on the front side of the golf course, at Bragg Park and Tenth Street Park, and in Heritage Park.

Ratliff also worked alongside the Scouts at the Cemetery especially in laying stone at the edge of the parking lot.  Volunteer Darrell Brown worked with and supervised the Scouts working on the front entrance to RainelleCemetery.  Jan Riffe volunteered to supervise and direct the Scouts in collecting data from headstones and in laying out the cemetery into quadrants.  Riffe then worked with MeadWestvaco’s Wes Johnson to provide data for the map.

Pendleton also commended Town workers Mike Stout, Dylan Brown, Dusty Morello and Tommy Lewis for their help while the Boy Scouts were in town and during the Governor’s Day to Serve projects.

“After visiting the project sites in Rainelle last spring, we knew this would be a great fit for the community, volunteers, and the Boy Scouts,” Jon A Kincaid, Project Coordinator for the Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia’s Reaching the Summit Community Service Initiative, said.  “The cemetery project was a great cross section of project focuses.  It had an educational and historic component as well as a large scope of work for volunteers.”

Pendleton said that Jan Riffe chair the Boy Scout cemetery mapping project supervising the many Boy Scouts.  Riffe also worked with Wes Johnson to get the data onto the map.  David Grimmett, Pastor Bob Daniels and Jerry Bradley also helped when the Boy Scouts were in town.

“After the Boy Scouts left, we had a much improved cemetery and an almost complete listing of all the headstones,” Pendleton said.  “Then Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced the availability of mini-grants for the Governor’s Day to Serve projects, and again Joan Browning obtained a grant for the Rainelle Community Development Corporation to continue landscaping the cemetery.”

“Cleaning up and landscaping the cemetery and completing this mapping has called for dozens more volunteers,” Pendleton said.  “The Town owes a debt of gratitude to each and every one.”

Pendleton also presented a map to Monica Smathers Venable of Don Smathers Funeral Chapel and William H. “Bill” Wallace of Wallace and Wallace, Inc. Funeral Chapels.

Visitors are welcome to view the map and the data base at RainelleTown Hall during regular business hours.

“I will also try to answer any questions by phone or email,” Pendleton said.

The map and the RainelleCemetery data base, both by location and alphabetical, are on the Rainelle Community Development Corporation web site, www.rainelle.org.

Monica Smathers Venable of Don Smathers Funeral Chapel and William H. “Bill” Wallace of Wallace and Wallace, Inc. Funeral Chapels receiving maps of the Rainelle Cemetery.

Monica Smathers Venable of Don Smathers Funeral Chapel and William H. “Bill” Wallace of Wallace and Wallace, Inc. Funeral Chapels receiving maps of the Rainelle Cemetery.

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