Blue Ridge Cemetery

A sign shows wear at Blue Ridge Cemetery, west of Staplehurst and north of Utica in the D Precinct of Seward County. Nolan Eickhoff will speak about his Diamond Clover 4-H work with abandoned cemeteries at the Seward Civic Center Aug. 1.

The past year has been a busy one for 4-Her Nolan Eickhoff and his family.

Interested in history, Eickhoff decided to focus on abandoned cemeteries in Seward County for his Diamond Clover 4-H project.

“The beneficiaries for this project will be the people who are buried in the various cemeteries, who I feel deserve to have a nice final resting site. In addition to those buried, their families, the families living in the area and the visitors will also benefit from a clean and well-maintained area,” he explained in his project proposal.

The Diamond Clover program is similar to the Eagle Scout designation in Scouts of America. 4-Hers can choose to work their way through six levels, each represented by a different gemstone, completing different tasks along the way.

At the beginning level, amethyst, members check off items like learning the 4-H pledge, attending a 4-H camp or bringing a friend to a meeting.

Once they reach the diamond level, 4-Hers have to complete eight tasks like coordinating a 4-H event, attending a state or national conference or mentoring a younger member. Previously, members were required to complete a 100-hour service project over the course of two years, which is now a requirement of the Nebraska 4-H Gives Back program. 

What started with a timeline of a few months turned into a year’s worth of work for Eickhoff.

In addition to maintenance, he wanted to be sure the cemeteries had flags and a way visitors could communicate if they were seeking information on an individual or the family of an individual buried in the cemetery.

With his plan implemented and improvements made, Eickhoff is ready to share what he has done.

He will explain how he attained his goals in a presentation to the Seward County Genealogical Society at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 1, at a brown bag lunch in the east dining room of the Seward Civic Center. The public is invited to attend.

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