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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLUMBUS, Ohio (September 13, 2017) – Ohio Association of FoodBanks Americorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) members from all around Ohio descended on Section 71 of Green Lawn Cemetery to clean the gravestones of more than 300 military veterans from WWI, WWII and the Spanish American War in honor of the National Day of Service and Remembrance, also known as Patriot Day Monday, Sept. 11.
According to Randy Rogers, Green Lawn Cemetery trustee, most of the markers in the section had never been cleaned since being installed more than 100 years ago. Rogers added that since so much time has passed, family members of the deceased are no longer around to care for the graves properly.
After a brief demonstration of how it was done, the thirty-some volunteers got to work. Spray bottles of a special chemical, called D2, soft brushes and plastic scrapers were used to get the grit and grime off the marble stones with the final step being a final rinse with regular water pumped in from a portable water truck.
“Making them look brand new again was really cool and rewarding. It was really cool seeing all the different names and stones and everything,” said Kaimyn Pazco of Americorps VISTA.
As we were cleaning them, we imagined what their lives were like and told little stories about each one,” Pazco added.
Maureen Allen, director of community services for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, said the service opportunity was organized in partnership with Military Veterans Resource Center (MVRC) and Green Lawn Cemetery.
“We were looking for a military-themed service opportunity for our VISTA members to do, so we went to MVRC and they set this up for us,” Allen said.
“This is the first time I’ve had a chance to do something hands on to remember 9/11 so it was a pretty special day,” said Katherine Pappas of Americorps VISTA.
“I think today is a big day that resonates with a lot of American individuals and it’s been really cool to come here and give back to individuals who have fought for our freedoms,” Pazco said.