Kingsburg High School senior places nearly 100 metal crosses at grave sites of abandoned peoples as part of Eagle Scout project

KINGSBURG, Calif. -- As high school students enjoyed their final days of summer break, a Kingsburg High senior was installing metal grave markers for people who are unclaimed by family.

"A lot of people forget about the dead, but we're here still remembering them," Jacob Phillips said.

The 17-year-old initiated the project as part of his Eagle Scout requirement. He and other scouts from Boy Scout Troop 392 installed nearly 100 new grave markers at Traver Cemetery (or Potters Field) on Monday.

The site is estimated to house the remains of nearly 1,000 indigent people who were unclaimed by family at the time of their death.

Earlier this year, the Tulare County Sheriff's Office held a mass burial for about 200 people. Shortly after, Phillips reached out to TCSO about his idea.

"He asked if part of his Eagle Scout requirement could be making these crosses and permanently marking these sights," said Sgt. Alan Knight with TCSO.

"He wanted to make new crosses and make them out of metal so they will last for years to come."

Phillips was also aided by family as they removed the old wooden crosses and replaced them with the metal ones, which were designed by Phillips and cut with a plasma cutter. They were then painted by Phillips, his family and fellow scouts.

"Every single kid out here is well aware of the importance of what they're doing and are taking satisfaction that this program is going to carry on for years to come," Knight said.

"These are unclaimed bodies and I'm here to honor them," Phillips said. The project will be submitted for the Eagle Scout award later this year.