SAVANNAH, Ga. – The power of the living shone through on Saturday when hundreds gathered at Hunter Army Airfield to clean a local cemetery.
Savannah mom, Misty Harvest, started the initiative earlier this summer after she went to the Lincoln Memorial Cemetery with her kids on Memorial Day. She wanted to place flags on the graves of veterans but discovered something different. She told WSAV she was disappointed to the see the grave sites were over grown and ill-kept.
“It looked bad. There was trash and debris,” Harvest said.
The cemetery is located in Hunter Army Airfield but is privately owned. So, for the second time, Harvest assembled and sent the request for volunteers to help clean up. Hundreds showed up on Saturday from all over the country with rakes, shovels, chainsaws, brooms, heavy machinery, trucks and a willing spirit to help with the effort.
The crew worked from early morning into the evening to clean grave sites for veterans and civilians alike.
Many had no personal connection with the cemetery but showed up anyway.
“It’s our job. These are soldiers that paid the price: Airmen, Marine Corps. It’s our responsibility. They earned it. They deserve it,” Sergeant Jose Larios said.
Families, teams, veterans’ groups, and active service persons all pitch in to help clean up. Savannah Alderwoman Dr. Estella Shabazz also made an appearance to survey the debris and thank volunteers.
Even with a tremendous amount of progress made on Saturday, Harvest isn’t giving up anytime soon.
“I won’t stop. I’m not going to stop. This has to be taken care of, whatever has to be done this cemetery to be where it needs to be is what’s going to happen,” Harvest said.
WSAV spoke to the owner, Frenchye Bynes, on the phone to find out why the plots maintenance had been neglected and to see about a forward plan for upkeep. She declined to comment but thanked the volunteers for their efforts.
Harvest plans to return to the cemetery on Sunday and invites all who are willing to help to join her.