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ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Nathaniel Backwell stands next to the Veterans Memorial in Philip Linn Pioneer Cemetery that he created as an Eagle Scout project. Backwell hopes the memorial helps citizens honor all veterans who are buried in Estacada.

Nathaniel Backwell was planting flags on the graves of veterans for Memorial Day three years ago when he had an epiphany about his Eagle Scout project.

“My mom said she wished we could plant flags on the grave of every veteran, but we might not know if they were in the military,” he said. “And that’s when I knew what I wanted to do.”

Backwell, a rising junior at Estacada High School and a member of Estacada Boy Scout Troop 186, recently completed a memorial for all veterans buried in Estacada as an Eagle Scout project.

The next step in Backwell’s path to receiving his Eagle Scout badge is submitting the project to local and national scout officials for review.

Backwell worked with Oregon Memorial in Hillsboro to create the granite memorial’s design and raised the $2,000 that was needed to fund the project. Many local organizations contributed, including the Estacada Literary Foundation, True Value, Dicks Logging, the Estacada Odd Fellows and the Estacada Cemetery Maintenance Board.

The completed memorial, installed the week before Memorial Day, stands in the Philip Linn Pioneer Cemetery as a way to honor all veterans buried in Estacada.

“I wanted it to stand out, but not overshadow the whole cemetery,” Backwell said.

Backwell hopes his project serves as an additional element to the Veterans Memorial at Southwest Second Avenue.

“The Veterans Memorial is great,” he said. “I want to complement that rather than take away from it.”

Backwell said seeing the finished product is “absolutely amazing.”

“It’s so nice to see it finished,” he said.

To help share his project with the community, Backwell will host a dedication ceremony for the memorial at noon Saturday, June 18.

“It will be an explanation of what the project was, as well as a ceremony to honor the veterans,” he said.

Backwell encourages anyone interested to attend the ceremony and learn about the memorial.

“It’s something for the community, to help honor veterans,” he said.

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