Updated 07/16/2012 06:20 PM
North Country Masonry begins plan for cemetery fix
A week after a Jefferson County cemetery was hit by vandals, the man who offered to fix the damaged headstones visited the site. He says the hardest part of fixing them will be piecing them back together, telling our Brian Dwyer it'll be like doing a puzzle, only with no picture to guide you.
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JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. -- "This is the one that had the most damage to it as far as I was concerned," North Country Masonry owner Matt Williams said while on site. "Seems like we'll be able to get it right back together."
Matt Williams lost his 19-year-old daughter last year in a car accident. To him, the cemetery has become a sacred resting place. So when he heard about vandals damaging 16 different headstones at a Jefferson County cemetery, many of which belonged to war veterans, he was livid.
"It's a hideous act," He said. "It's the work of fiends. It's the work of people with too much time on their hands. It's an utter lack of respect."
So Williams is putting his special set of skills to use. The owner of North Country Masonry in Norwood was at the Evergreen Cemetery Monday seeing what he would need to repair the damaged headstones. He and Masonry Foreman Alan Gollinger basically piecing together a puzzle, only there's no box to guide you along.
"There is no picture to look at," Gollinger said while looking at several dozen pieces of stone and chip from one headstone. "You've just got to go with the angles and, luckily, there's some distinct marks where we can go by those."
It's not easy work, but it's work both are honored to volunteer for.
"It feels great just to be able to do something like this and help out," Gollinger said. "It's a bad thing, what happened, but I'm just glad to be here and help."
"The only reason me, you and the vandals that did this walk around in a free country is because of the sacrifices that these people made a long time ago," Williams said of those veterans buried at Evergreen. "They didn't have to have their arms twisted to do it. They willingly did it."
And with money just being so tight everywhere and no real budget to speak of, the folks that help run this cemetery say this is just one unbelievable act of kindness and restores their belief that good can come out of bad.
Williams says he could have the headstones finished by the end of next week.