Eagle Scout honored for historic cemetery restoration project

VERNON. Joseph Dunlop, 18, dedicates his time to community service.

Vernon /
| 12 Sep 2022 | 11:18

The Vernon Township Historical Society, township schools, and members of the community celebrated Joseph Dunlop in an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for his exemplary leadership qualities and successes in education and civic volunteering. In his work for the Historical Society, Dunlop led a team in cleaning and restoring a historic Revolutionary War Cemetery.

On August 28, Dunlop, 18, was recognized at the Court of Honor for his outstanding volunteer work and accomplishments. Retired Vernon teacher and Historical Society member Nancy Grimaldi presented Dunlop with an award on behalf of the society.

Dunlop was in Vernon Township High School’s graduating Class of 2022. He first approached the Historical Society in 2021 and pitched his idea for his eagle scout project. Society member and cemetery expert Lisaann Permunian guided him through the project. Dunlop gathered a team of other scouts, which he led to the successful completion of the project.

Vernon High School Principal Pauline Anderson also recognized Dunlop at the Court of Honor for his accomplishments. Anderson said she was honored to have been asked to speak on his behalf because, she said, “Joseph was truly one of the most influential students in the Class of 2022.”

Anderson said she served as principal while Dunlop attended three schools in the township — Walnut Ridge Primary School, Glen Meadow Middle School, and Vernon Township High School. She noted Dunlop’s keynote address “Dare to Dream” for the 2019 Leadership Conference, where, she said, Dunlop compared entering high school to climbing Mount Everest and shared the strategies he had used.

“With the never-ending support of his loving family, Joseph continues to amaze us — and he never fails to do his best both academically and socially. He has grown into a young man who is a role model for perseverance, persistence, and positivity... an inspiration to all of us,” said Anderson. She added that one of his most outstanding attributes is his determination to provide community service, most recently through his participation in the Key Club and the completion of his eagle scout project, which focused on the revamping of the historic cemetery located in Vernon.

Dunlop was the chaplain aide for Vernon Boy Scout Troop 912 for five years. After his rehab, Dunlop’s future goals are to go to college. He would like to pursue something where he would interact with people, and considers volunteering in the recreation room of a children’s rehabilitation facility.

Jessica Paladini, president of the Vernon Township Historical Society, said many scouts and students doing community service projects choose the society for various badges, eagle scout projects, and credits. She said she was thrilled when Dunlop approached her to restore the cemetery, a very important and one of the most cherished historic cemeteries in the township.

The Society preserves township historic sites and archives for the community, conducts genealogy, and holds many events for children and adults. Its most successful endeavor was to nominate and successfully have the federal government designate a 19-mile stretch of the township as a national scenic byway, which provides many opportunities for state and federal funding and capital improvement, and boosts ecotourism for the township. Nationwide, there are 184 national scenic byways. The national scenic byway program is administered through the Federal Highway Administration to recognize, protect, and promote America’s most outstanding roads. Funding for the society has been made available in part by the New Jersey Historical Commission through the County Historical Partnership Program, as administered by the Sussex County Art and Heritage Council.