Volunteers who worked last weekend mowing and edging at Greenleaf Cemetery improved the grounds’ appearance considerably, but more work needs to be done. So members of Friends and Relatives of Greenleaf (FROG) will return in force with their mowers and edgers for a rescheduled work day beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday.
A specific area of the cemetery will be targeted, but volunteers may work in any area that’s important to them, FROG member Vonne Cornett said Thursday.
“I see a huge need for raking and bagging,” Cornett said after a visit to the cemetery Thursday afternoon. “We’ll be needing lots of lawn and leaf bags, rakes and brooms. Any donations in this area would be greatly appreciated and used.”
Cornett also asked workers to wear good leather work gloves because of the possibility of fire ants.
Many workers may be arriving without tools or equipment, so anyone with extra equipment to share is asked to bring it. It should be labeled with names, addresses and phone numbers of owners.
“Also, we are appealing to anyone who has a tractor/shredder,” Cornett said. “There is a large area that is in need of shredding that household or commercial mowers cannot work.”
She said volunteers who pitched in last Saturday made a significant impact, but lots of work still needs to be done.
That planned work day was postponed for a week after weather forecasts called for rain last Saturday, but conditions were mostly sunny here after those storms moved west and north. Some 35 workers showed up anyway, and many said they would return this Saturday.
“Last Saturday, some of the large commercial mowers knocked down a lot of the open access areas that paved the way for smaller mowers and Weed Eaters,” Cornett said. “Throughout the week, the cemetery crew will be working in specific areas, and by Saturday there will be more need for rakes, baggers, sweepers and Weed Eaters, and of course the mowers, too.”
Workers are concerned about doing more than just knocking down tall grass and weeds that have grown after heavy spring and summer rains, conditions that have overwhelmed the ability of the historic cemetery’s small maintenance staff to keep trimmed.
“There has been comment that the tall freshly cut grass has been thrown up over the headstones, thus the need to sweep and bag cut grass,” Cornett said. “It is our plan to have a designated work area flagged off so that a concentrated effort can be made to totally manicure the area before moving on to other sections.”
She said after finding the flagged area, volunteers will be able to see where to go to work when they arrive.
“It is understood and expected that volunteers may wish to immediately attend a relative or special plot or area,” Cornett said. “If they request extra help for that area, other volunteers will be happy to assist. Whatever type of equipment they may have brought can be put to quick use, even if it’s a pair of good gardening gloves and a leaf bag. From working last Saturday, I realized a simple household broom could work wonders.”
Cornett described the task before volunteers as overwhelming, even after a long day of work last Saturday.
“I was proud to see the progress we had made,” Cornett said. “It also seemed to me more employees are needed and money should be allocated to pay salaries and buy good commercial equipment for them to work with. Just where this money will come from is the hot topic right now.”
Members of FROG, the citizens committee, are not only donating their time to the physical improvement of the cemetery; they are also working to involve the public in a study of the cemetery’s concerns and problems. Representatives made an appearance before the Brownwood City Council last week, and members are planning fund-raising projects and exploring other ways to raise funds, Cornett said.
“We are so grateful and inspired by the volunteers who worked with us last Saturday, in spite of the postponement,” Cornett said. “After touring the cemetery (Tuesday), I noticed several individuals out mowing and (edging). Perhaps they couldn’t make it on Saturday and were using time more convenient to them. We appreciate them.
“Progress is being made one row at a time, but we have much more work to do. I think it’s important for the public to know, if anyone has a relative, family member or friend buried at Greenleaf, they are part of the Greenleaf Association They’re already a part, so hopefully they’ll become an active part and join us Saturday beginning around 8 a.m. at the cemetery.”
Hot dogs will be served at lunch, and cold drinks will be provided. Portable rest rooms will also be on site.