By Martha Stoelting
SYRACUSE – The Syracuse Cemetery Association has received a $10,000 grant to begin its restoration project in the oldest part of the cemetery.
Several of these stones are from the Civil War era and a few even older. They will be cleaned, reset and repaired as necessary. This is important to maintain the integrity of the monuments and information contained in the cemetery burials for future generations.
Chairman Garry Ringler noted, “This is just phase I. It will be a multiphase project with more grants being sought as it progresses. The cemetery association board of directors is grateful for the monetary support already shared by the public for it and welcomes more donations and volunteers to assist with the work.”
The cemetery is not part of the Turkey Creek Township cemetery system and is, therefore, not tax supported. Fees, grants and donations will pay for the work involved as well as volunteer hours spent on the physical repair work.
Saturday morning bright and early, four members of the Syracuse Cemetery board joined contractor Sherm Kern, South Whitley, to begin work on the cemetery’s hill. Leonard Kline, Phil Mock, Paul Stoelting and Ringler got right down to business digging up broken grave markers and cleaning them under Kern’s supervision as he used equipment to level several monuments.
“The work is hard but there is much satisfaction in seeing a stone cleaned or a grave site completed,” explained Stoelting. He tackled the cleaning of five stones, which took about seven hours with a couple of breaks.
Volunteers are invited at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 21 and Aug. 28 to continue the large job ahead. Wear work clothes and bring a stiff nylon or plastic brush, shovels, trowels and other digging apparatus.
Those who would like to help but are physically unable can send donations to the Syracuse Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 175, Syracuse, IN 46567. Mark on the check for restoration. For more information, contact Ringler, (574) 518-1633 or any other board member.