Local scouts spent the morning of April 30 refurbishing hundreds of wooden crosses to ensure a proper tribute for fallen soldiers on Memorial Day.

The group, mainly composed of members of Troop 1119, visited the Galt Cemetery to give the nearly 500 crosses a fresh coat of paint.

Scouts who had come from Jackson also turned out; they said they had heard about the activity at a scouting roundtable in Sacramento.

First, crosses were taken from a large pile and wiped clean. The ones with chipped paint were sanded down and sprayed with a primer coat, and then all the crosses got a final repainting.

David Crosier, a groundskeeper with the Galt-Arno Cemetery District, said the task of repainting all the crosses was too big for district staff alone to finish by May 30. As an Eagle Scout, Crosier thought of asking the scouts for help while recalling his own community service work.

“So we reached out to the community, and BSA Troop 1119 was the first group I reached out to, and they were the first to get back to me,” Crosier said. “I’m just really glad for what the scouts are doing.”

The prospect of getting hundreds of crosses ready in one day was “mind-boggling,” Crosier said.

Troop 1119 Scoutmaster Paul Baker said the activity is a “great learning experience” for the scouts, mixing basic woodworking skills with an appreciation for local history.

“I think they’re also learning a bit of a history lesson in the cemetery and what’s here, and then also the importance of why do we give back, why do we help our community and places like this so that they last for another hundred years,” Baker said.

Cemetery district Director Belinda Ellis called it an “honor” to get the crosses ready for display on Memorial Day.

“I’ve yet to meet a veteran who is bitter, and I think … there is a great sense of love and appreciation when the families come out and they see the crosses and all of the flags,” Ellis said. “I mean, it just does something to your heart. It just grabs you.”