Volunteers Hard At Work Restoring Cemetery

THE SOFT GROUND and years of neglect has resulted in many tombstones sinking. Volunteers raise them one side at a time and place gravel underneath them to restore them to the right height.

Volunteers Hard At Work Restoring Cemetery

The soft ground and years of neglect has resulted in many tombstones sinking. Volunteers raise them one side at a time and place gravel underneath them to restore them to the right height.

Memory Gardens Cemetery in Imperial may look like a forlorn place to the casual observer. But comparing it now to what it looked like just a few months ago is like comparing day to night.

That was when a dedicated group of volunteers began making weekly visits to the burial ground north of town with the goal of bringing some dignity back to the site.
Every Saturday a small group has been hard at work making improvements to the cemetery. They started by removing weeds and dead trees and have progressed to raising headstones that have sunk into the soft earth over the years. Future projects will include restoring the sprinkler system so that grass can once again grow over all the gravesites.

Kim Vincent has been at the head of the effort, encouraging volunteers and getting the word out about what is needed. She said that while there is much to do, everyone is heartened by the progress they have made so far.

Vincent was walking from grave to grave last Saturday, documenting the information on every headstone. Nearby, volunteers were making their way down another row, raising the headstones back up to their original heights. This process involves prying one end of each headstone up while someone else shovels small gravel under it and tamps the rocks down. The process is then repeated on the other end, one marker at a time.

Although the cemetery dates back to the Imperial Valley’s early years, there have been a number of people interred there in this century. This is spite of the fact that it isn’t in good condition and the ownership of the cemetery has been questionable for many years.

Word has been received that a new owner has purchased the property, and the volunteers hope that means someone intends to put some time and money into it soon. Everything so far has been donated either by the volunteers themselves or by local companies they solicited for materials or needed equipment.

The more volunteers there are to help with the individual projects the easier the work is. They will be back out this Saturday at 7 a.m. and again on May 20th, and welcome anyone who wants to join them.

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