Thursday, March 8, 2012

Making Connections

Donna E. Walcovy volunteering time & expertise.

Last month, one of our supporters, Donna E. Walcovy sent us a message that she would be in town for a quick visit. When Donna was a young girl she lived not far from the Old Flandreau Cemetery. Now in adulthood Donna is the owner of Marking Burials, a cemetery preservation organization. While in town Donna visited the Old Flandreau Cemetery with me and offered lots of advice for our preservation program.

She looked at the current status of the visible headstones and identified the brownish one as actually being made of brownstone. Several have more unusual surfaces. One has a willow tree and urn inscribed upon it. These were used by a president on his headstone and several have chosen to use them ever since as a symbol of importance.

There was a small gray rock which previously others of the board had noticed. We were trying to ascertain if it was a headstone, marker, or other rock formation. Donna recognized it immediately as perhaps a marker.

Work still lies ahead. She suggested yes we need to finish making a definitive, safe, walking path down the middle of the cemetery for visitors. Then here is a brief outline Donna described:
  1. Remove all remaining debris.
  2. Seek volunteers to help work in an organized patter moving right to left one small section at time. Clear the area several inches down. Remove any stones and make a pile for future use. (Donna began one by the fence).
  3. Collect any pieces of slate that resurface during our efforts.
  4. Even out the land in the back of the cemetery with rock.
  5. Remove the extra trees.
  6. Reset the headstones.
  7. Landscape the cemetery.

It was such a pleasure meeting Donna Walcovy. She not only shared her knowledge, gave readily of her feedback, but she pitched right in. Knelt down and began working a patch at the front of the cemetery. Many more patches to go through. But every little effort leads to an effective change.