Cemetery Update: Volunteer upkeep continues, questions remain

CBS 42
CBS 42

[lin_video src=http://eplayer.clipsyndicate.com/embed/player.js?aspect_ratio=16x9&auto_next=1&auto_start=0&div_id=videoplayer-1380496585&height=480&page_count=5&pf_id=9624&show_title=1&va_id=4388559&width=640&windows=2 service=syndicaster width=640 height=480 div_id=videoplayer-1380496585 type=script]JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) – The cleanup work continues for a second day as the search for answers enters its third week at a local cemetery.

Many families are still feeling hurt and angry at the lack of official information and the way the situation is being handled at George Washington Carver Memorial Gardens, but some are also encouraged by the grassroots effort to save the cemetery or at least take care of it for now.

The phone number listed for George Washington Carver Memorial Gardens is disconnected, but the gates are open and Sunday a professional lawn care company took a personal interest in the cemetery and took on a task that would have traditionally been shouldered by the staff.

“My father’s out here, my mother, my grandmother,” said Gary Singleton G & G Lawn Care. “Everybody needs somebody to come out and maintain the grounds, you know you don’t want to just throw your loved ones, your loved ones away and the grounds look like, you know they’ve been  deserted.”

There’s no official notice posted at the cemetery and no word what the future holds for those laid to rest there or their loved ones.

“Very upsetting. It’s amazing. It just amazes me,” said Singleton.

Trina Keye says her family laid a loved one to rest in July.  If not for flowers there would be nothing to mark the grave.

“Well we’re hurt and we’re saddened that she’s lying here without her headstone which has been paid for for years and we can’t get an answer from anyone to where it is,” said Trina Keye.  “I am in a low state of mind. First of all having to lose my mom so suddenly, it was painful enough, but you know still when you can’t get any closure you know it makes it even harder for the family.”

“It’s hurtful. It’s very hurtful…very painful,” said Keye. “We just want answers. Just answers.”

There are a lot of questions still out there about what the future holds for the cemetery, but one family’s search for answers has led to one inescapable conclusion: a lot of people care what happens to George Washington Carver Memorial Gardens and aren’t willing to give up on it.

The Moore family posted flyers around the cemetery which helped bring droves of people out to care for it on Saturday.

“First I want to thank everyone that showed up, those that couldn’t I want to thank them for even, for letting everybody pass along the word. We had a lot of people, we had over 200 people here,” said Camellia Moore.  “I have a cousin that was killed in 2012, in October of last year. He has a marker that we paid for, my aunt did, and he don’t have it so right now the only thing we got for him is a cross and it’s like we’re living their deaths all over again.”

One of the elected leaders over the area in question is calling for action.

“I am going to be calling the Attorney General’s office tomorrow to reach out to them for them to start a full investigation of this situation. I’m going to also be speaking with Tony Petelos, the county manager, because this sits in an unincorporated, this cemetery sits in an unincorporated area of Jefferson County. We’re not going to allow this cemetery -with the amount of acreage here and the history behind this cemetery- to to just all abruptly close and leave all of these individuals that have been buried out here without proper perpetual care. These families have entrusted their family members’ graves in perpetual care to this cemetery and they expected to reap the benefits of having the knowledge and the understanding that their family members would be cared for,” said State Rep. Juandalynn Givan, Jefferson County (D). “Every business has a right to close, no one is debating that. It is how the business closed. It is the fact that they closed without giving any prior or proper notice to the family members here.”

Rep. Givan says a town hall meeting will be held Thursday October 3rd, 2013 at 6 p.m. at Jackson- Olin High School to discuss the situation at George Washington Carver Memorial Gardens.

We’ll let you know when that information is final and we’ll continue to bring you the very latest information on this developing story.

blog comments powered by Disqus