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On a rainy morning last weekend, a dozen people gathered in Richfield to help honor the dead — and to help 17-year-old Therese Phan earn her Eagle Scout rank.

Phan, 17, assembled the volunteers who would help her become an Eagle Scout — the highest rank a youth can achieve in the Boy Scouts of America. Phan welcomed the crew to the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where they would be marking the 44 graves throughout the cemetery that were never given a gravestone.

"I think she's showing everyone, or making them aware, that these people walked the Earth and that we should honor them ... regardless if they have a gravestone or not," said Ann Anton, 73, a church volunteer.

"These are human beings who once lived and worked and played, and are deserving of a particular respect," said Peter Loving, 68, a church deacon.

The journey here wasn't easy. It took three years for Phan, of Richfield, to rise through the ranks in Troop 384, and her project involves months of preparation. It all started before girls could join the Boy Scouts.

Since she was young, Phan wanted to join the Scouts. She grew up watching her brothers become Eagle Scouts. As they camped, volunteered and learned life skills, Phan took notice of how excited they were.

"I thought, 'That's really cool. I want to do that, too,'" she said.

At that time, she couldn't. It was only three years ago that the Boy Scouts of America allowed girls to join, marking one of the organization's most significant changes since its founding in 1910. Phan volunteered to help her brothers become Eagle Scouts, despite what limits those rules put on her.

Now Phan's brothers are helping her, and they hope her example inspires others.

"We've helped with all sorts of Eagle projects in the area, but this one's just a little more special because it's family," Tony Phan said. "I hope her story inspires other young girls."

"I'm super proud of her. She's come a really long way in such a short amount of time," Andy Phan said. "An Eagle Scout project and an Eagle Scout rank — it's no easy task to complete."

Assumption is among the network of churches Phan attends, and when she reached out asking what she could do to help, it turned out Assumption had the project on its to-do list. Some of the reasons for the unmarked graves, she said, had to do with finances or family disputes.

For her project, Phan was required to fill a 32-page document that outlined her plan. And as a rising high school senior at Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, Phan has little time to earn the rank before she is too old to qualify.

But Phan is determined.

"I've spent all this time, all these years," Phan said. "I will be getting this [rank]."

As Saturday's storm subsided and the drone of rain turned into a pitter-patter, Phan led the volunteers into the cemetery. They put new markers above bare patches of earth, placing names and dates on sites that had not been recognized for centuries.

Phan will learn if she achieved the Eagle Scout rank in a month or so. Whether she earns it or not, Phan said she has enjoyed being a Boy Scout.

"I feel happy," Phan said. "I've met so many new people to get involved in my life. It's just been really exciting and engaging."