Cemetery clean-up brings residents together for common cause

Tractors, trucks and trailers were to used pick up debris leftover from Fridays windstorm on the National Day of Service.

WELLSVILLE – On Saturday, Wellsville residents braved the rain to spruce-up the 10-acre city cemetery with its 7,700 plots. Some of the plots were from early pioneers. The National Day of Service and Remembrance couldn’t have come at better time after high winds toppled a tree and sent branches of trees throughout the cemetery.

Pete Grimnes using a chain saw to cut up a tree blown over the night before at the Wellsville Cemetery on the National Day of Service and Remembrance  Saturday Sept. 11.

Pete Grimnes, with chain saw in hand, joined others to cut up a tree blown over the night before.

Tractors and pickups pulling trailers were going back and forth caring loads of green waste to the designated spot at the northeast spot outside of the cemetery boundaries.

Participants showed up with leaf blowers, trimmers, along with brooms, buckets of water and brushes to clean off the headstones and pick up the area.

Scott Owen was busy on his hands and knees picking up debris and putting it in his blue bucket. Jan Hall stopped picking up branches for a moment and arranged a bucket of flowers on her father’s headstone. She reminisced about her father being active in the community and a local firefighter.

Heather Rowser taking about the lives of people buried in the in the Wellsville Cemetery on Saturday, 11.

Heather Rowser was telling interested people about the lives of people buried in the cemetery.

Michael Willardson was loading tree limbs and said it was the second time this year they had cleaned the cemetery.

“All of our congregations have an assignment to come out and clean a section of the cemetery before Memorial Day,” he said. “This is nothing new for us.”

At the Hyrum Cemetery, Carry Reed was busy with brush in hand cleaning older pioneer headstones.

Scott Owen is busy at the Wellsville cemetery picking up sticks and other debris on the National Day of Service Saturday, Sept. 11.

“We are community members and wanted to support the National Day of Service,” the retired Nevada school teacher said. “We aren’t Mormons, but we heard they were doing service and we wanted to help.”

The Mendon Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spearheaded 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance across the south end of the valley by inviting all church congregations, service groups and community members across the valley to join them in sprucing up the cemeteries at the south end of the valley.

President Glen Harris, first counselor in the Mendon Stake Presidency, is the chair of the steering committee for nine stakes at the south end of the valley.

He sent out a thank you to participants of the Day of Service.

“I saw lots of smiles and good fellowship with those who served in our stakes and I saw relationships with those not of our faith strengthened,” he said. “It was good to be a part of stakes not only throughout Utah, but throughout our country who found ways to serve on this day of national remembrance.”

A crowd of young men load branches onto a trailer at the Wellsville Cemetery on Saturday, Sept. 11.

Harris said the rain may have kept some from coming out, but even with that they had over 1800 individuals from the area at work at cemeteries in Cache Valley.

All faith-based organizations and service groups were asked to come together and participate in commemorating Sept. 11 by cleaning cemeteries and monuments. Children, young adults, individuals and families were invited to help.

The National Day of Service and Remembrance, or Patriots Day, is federally recognized in the United States and falls on the anniversary of September 11, 2001 when terrorist attacked the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania.

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