We want to thank all of the volunteers who worked hard to make our 2nd Annual St. Raphael Cemetery Clean-up Day a tremendous success! The gift of your time and talents has preserved a piece of our community's history.
Last year we began the clean-up and restoration of St. Raphael Cemetery which had been overgrown for decades. After two work days, it looked better than it had in a very long time. Our 2016 goals were to maintain the progress made in 2015 and to remove the remainder of the brush and trash.
54 people turned out to help with the clean-up on May 28th. We enjoyed a beautiful day outside while volunteers gathered 10 lawn bags of trash. [Way less than last year!] Others used weed eaters, chain saws, and pruners to remove a number of small seedlings, dead and low-lying limbs, and weeds between the headstones and along the treeline. Brush was fed into a chipper and deposited in a 40 yd dumpster that was nearly full by the time we finished.
Volunteers worked hard to prune a small tree near the street, but once they had it shaped, they noticed an electric line, which once had hung between the branches. The tree had grown around the electric line, encasing it and creating a dangerous situation so Ohio Edison has been called, and the tree will have to be taken down. In its place, one volunteer plans to plant some donated juniper bushes.
Small flags were placed along the street to honor the veterans who rest in the cemetery. Flags were also placed on the graves of the four identifiable veterans: Corp. Jerry Kelley, U.S. Infantry; Sgt. Emmett Haley, U.S. Army, WWI; Corp. John Connell, 12th Cavalry; and Gideon Reinhardt, Ohio Cavalry. Most veterans in the cemetery do not have markers identifying their service so we discussed the possibility of listing their names on a plague at the opening of the cemetery sometime in the future.
After a hard morning's work, we settled into the shade of the huge maple tree at the front of the cemetery. Another volunteer, who wishes to remain anonymous, brought hots dogs and hamburgers, chips and cookies, and plenty of cold drinks for all! We thank her, and those who helped her, very much! It was fun picnicking and socializing with the people we had just worked beside.
While we were eating, we already began making plans for next year which include enlisting a volunteer to make a plot map of the grave locations which still have legible markers and filling in sunken graves with dirt and topping with grass seed. Again thank you to all of our many hard-working volunteers!