Many hands, light work

Officials request help to clean up cemetery for Memorial Day

Debris at the Negaunee Cemetery on County Road 492 is pictured. Volunteers are needed for a cemetery cleanup Saturday. (Journal photo by Lisa Bowers)

NEGAUNEE — In the Upper Peninsula, we wait with great anticipation for the winter snow to finally melt, but sometimes the spring thaw can show us evidence of how brutal U.P. winters can be.

That’s why Negaunee Cemetery’s sexton Paige Yoho is asking residents to pick up a rake for a few hours on Saturday to help to clean up leaves and debris left by a harsher-than-normal Marquette County winter.

“There’s currently toppled-over trees, branches, leaves and other debris scattered throughout (the cemetery),” Yoho said. “The main purpose would be to remove debris from each of the 90 blocks located in our cemetery onto the road way for the Department of Public Works to haul away. We would begin (at) 9 a.m. Saturday for roughly four hours. With Memorial Day right around the corner, this would mean a lot to our veterans.”

Approximately 35 to 40 Negaunee High School students are expected to pitch in toward the effort to spruce up the cemetery on Marquette County Road 492, according to a city press release. The campaign is being called a “Clean-up, Fix-up.” Officials hope Negaunee citizens will also volunteer to work alongside the students.

The cemetery contains over 18,000 burials, roughly a third of which are 100 years old or older, spread over a vast area of land.

The city’s summer work crew of five or six employees will not be able to complete the clean-up in time for the May 27 Memorial Day service due to snow and rain that has delayed efforts this year.

“I understand that our city’s cemetery is a sacred place and a safe haven for a lot of people. So I want to make sure that our cemetery grounds look clean and presentable for our Memorial Day ceremony following the parade,” Yoho said. “With the harsh winter we had, we truly need and would appreciate it so much if the community came together to make this possible. Grab a rake and head our way.”