Volunteers continue to restore cemetery

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Last year a century old cemetery looked forgotten if you were just passing by, but a local group of volunteers decided to do something about it.

The volunteers tell WTAJ you could not even see that road behind a part of the Berkley Hills Cemetery because the grass was overgrown.

“It was pretty deplorable and it was neglected,” says Jennie Homway.  “There were some areas that were probably up to my chest.”

Before Homway even knew she had relatives buried at Berkley Hills Cemetery in Upper Yoder Township, she and her husband jumped in to start a massive cleanup project, “When we came up and saw overgrowth on the veteran’s plots, it just didn’t seem acceptable.”

By the end of last summer around 30 volunteers had the 150-year-old cemetery looking new again.

Homway says she doesn’t want to see their hard work disappear.  This year the organization “Friends of the Berkley Hills Cemetery” is starting an “adopt a plot” program where folks can volunteer to take care of an area of the cemetery.

They’ve already had some volunteers sign up.  Homway says they can’t finance the project on their own.  It will cost around $3,000 per year for the upkeep, which is why they are asking for the community’s help.

“Seeing it in the condition it was in, struggling, and needing help to turn it back into something very beautiful, I think people can connect on something like that,” says Max Homway.

Eventually the Homways say they want to develop a nonprofit to help keep the cemetery clean.  They say it’s about paying respect to their family members and neighbors.

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