Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Cemetery Hero

This is John.

John is just your average middle aged man who attend the Cemetery Restoration Workshop with his wife.  But John saw something that day that disturbed him.  You see, while Workshops have been held in this cemetery for the past three years and so much great restoration work has been done, one thing had not been corrected until John came along.

You see, sometime in the past, a couple of vandals came along and threw a stone over the fence and down the embankment.  This picture will give you an idea of the terrain it was thrown in.

This hill is much steeper than you can see in this picture and the area is covered in poison ivy.  Also, the stone was large.  Due to it's size, the location and the manpower it would take to get this stone up the hill and over the fence, it had remained there.  Walt, Micki, D.B and Bird were all aware the stone was there and all wanted to bring back up the hill.  The stone is of a woman simply known at the time as "Martha".  Until the team could figure out how to raise the stone she would remain at the bottom of the hill.  That is until John came along.

Following lunch that day the hands-on portion of the restoration workshop began.  John stood up, threw his lunch away, brushed off his hands and announced "that stone is coming up".  And off John went.

First he gathered straps and pulleys and then John hopped over that fence.  He rolled the stone as far up the hill as he could by himself and then he put together a system of straps and pulleys and began to move that stone up to the fence line.  About this time Walt saw what John was doing and hurried over to help.  Eventually the men set up the tripod and began working as a team to move the stone over the fence.

And that is exactly what they did.

Once they had it over the fence a group of volunteers worked to get it set back on its original base.  I asked John to please step into the frame so that I could take his picture with Martha's stone.  He hesitated and had to be convienced by those around to step into the photo.  He didn't think he had done anything special.  But I do.

John came to the workshop that morning just an ordinary man.  But he left as my cemetery hero.

You can visit Martha's Find A Grave memorial here.

To read the entire series of the Cemetery Restoration Workshop click here for post 1 and here for post 2.


  1. I totally agree with the cemetery hero label. It would be nice if there could be a link on Find a Grave to this story so her descendants could know about her rescue from oblivion.

  2. I so wish this stone belonged to my family so I can include John's story in our history. I suppose that's my way of saying, he's certainly a hero. Thank you for sharing this story. I'm so inspired!

  3. John is OUR hero for sure! Thanks for sharing this truly GREAT story!

  4. I love the restoration series, and kudos to John! Great post!