The Rio Rico Historical Society recently awarded a $500 scholarship to David Duarte for coordinating the cleanup and restoration of the Peck Canyon Cemetery on the grounds of Coatimundi Middle School in Rio Rico.

Duarte, a recent graduate of Rio Rico High School now starting his studies at Arizona State University, took on the cemetery restoration as an Eagle Scout project, and he and his fellow Boy Scouts worked on it on the weekends for approximately two months. The effort consisted of cleaning and trimming trees, adding a new fence and door, and restoring the approximately 20 graves (only one of which bears the name of the person buried there).

“The Rio Rico Historical Society awarded him this scholarship as we considered his hard work and diligence in protecting and preserving the cemetery’s historical importance a great contribution to our community,” Helen Serras-Herman, the organization’s president, said in a news release.

A photographic exhibit and documentation of Duarte’s project at the Rio Rico History Museum, as well as a dedication ceremony planned at the school grounds, were both postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now the historical society has invited Duarte to be the guest speaker and talk about his project at their next general meeting “if all is well with the status of the pandemic at that time.”

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 17 at the Rio Rico Community Center.

“We look forward to resuming our meetings and activities soon, and remain positive that a new location for our museum will be found soon so that we can continue our efforts of educating the community and visitors in our area,” Serras-Herman said.

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