[caption id="attachment_81953" align="aligncenter" width="600"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2021\/06\/Elizabeth.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="392" class="size-full wp-image-81953" \/> fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Friel stands in the Robert Gay Cemetery in Campbelltown. Friel, with the help of friends and family, restored the cemetery to earn her Girl Scouts of America Silver Award \u2013\u2002the organizations\u2019s second highest award. Friel is holding the top portion of the gravestone of Hannah Gay. Several of the stones were broken and buried in the tall grass and saplings. S. Stewart photo[\/caption]\r\n\r\nSuzanne Stewart\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\u00a0\r\nAs a Girl Scout of America, a young girl can rise through the ranks \u2013 starting at the age of five as a Daisy, all the way to her teen years as a Senior.\u00a0\r\n\r\nThrough her time in the scouts, she earns badges and ranks. The second highest award a Girl Scout can receive is the Silver Award, which recognizes a scout who has completed a community service project.\r\n\r\nIn December 2020, 15-year-old Elizabeth Friel, of Marlinton, received her Silver Award for her project of restoring the Robert Gay Family Cemetery adjacent to the Campbelltown Church.\r\n\r\nFriel has a rather unique history with Girl Scouts \u2013\u00a0her grandmother, Linda Friel, is her leader, and has been the leader of Troop #35032 for decades.\r\n\r\n\u201cGrandma was the leader since I was little, but I didn\u2019t want to join because I was really shy,\u201d she said. \u201cI helped out with the little Daisys for a while, when I was nine. Then when I was ten, I joined.\u201d\r\n\r\nBeing a Girl Scout and a 4-H member helped Friel come out of her shell and by the time she was starting seventh grade at Marlinton Middle School, she was also starting the process to earn her Silver Award.\r\n\r\n\u201cI didn\u2019t have very many ideas at all,\u201d she admitted. \u201cI thought maybe I could do something to help the elderly. My sister helped at the Pocahontas County Animal Shelter. Grandma said, \u2018there\u2019s an old graveyard that needs fixing up.\u2019 I was like, \u2018okay, I\u2019ll do it.\u2019\u201d\r\n\r\nBefore starting the cleanup, Friel said she had to get permission from the Pocahontas County Commission and she asked for donations from local groups including the Marlinton Woman\u2019s Club, Marlinton Lions Club and Marlinton Rotary.\r\n\r\n\u201cThey were generous enough to give us some money and then I went to the County Commission and asked if I could do this,\u201d she said.\r\n\r\nAfter Friel received the green light to commence with her project, it was time to survey the property.\r\n\r\nThe cemetery was overgrown with tall grass and small saplings, and the gravestones were not visible at all.\r\n\r\n\u201cYou could not tell it was here,\u201d Friel said. \u201cThe gravestones were all down in the grass. We couldn\u2019t tell where it was exactly.\u201d\r\n\r\nWith the help of Pocahontas County Historical Society member Joe Smith, who provided coordinates for the cemetery, Friel and her volunteers marked off the boundary and revitalized the small family cemetery.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cWe took out seven truckloads of brush and trees,\u201d Linda said.\r\n\r\nOnce the overgrowth was gone, the crew found several broken gravestones, as well as several graves simply marked by stones with no engraving.\u00a0\r\n\r\nThe final stage of the project was to put a new fence around the cemetery and paint it \u2013\u00a0a task that took longer than Friel expected.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe spent six-and-a-half hours painting it yesterday,\u201d she said. \u201cWe\u2019re pretty close to finishing.\u201d\r\n\r\nAlthough she has already received her award, Friel said she wants to put another coat of paint on the fence and add a sturdy set of steps leading to the cemetery.\r\n\r\nThrough her hard work and coordination of friends and family, Friel helped uncover a cemetery that was taken over by nature and learned a few things about her home in the process.\r\n\r\n\u00a0\u201cI learned a little bit about the history of Pocahontas County,\u201d she said.\r\n\r\n\u00a0\u201cI also learned it\u2019s pretty hard to paint a fence with just four people,\u201d she added, laughing.\r\n\r\nHer journey as a Girl Scout may not have started like other girls, but Friel is proud of the work she has done and is nearly ready to think up a project to do to earn her Gold Award.\r\n\r\n\u201cI try not to think about it,\u201d she laughed. \u201cI have to do a totally new one.\u201d\r\n\r\nFriel is the daughter of Andy and Andi Friel, of Marlinton.