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The 48 State Tour, which helps restore cemeteries across the nation, will stop here in July
By Pat Pratt
Troy Genealogical Society’s successful Veteran Clean-up Day at the city cemetery has drawn the attention of a national tour and a national expert, who in July will come to Troy to teach a workshop on preservation.
Jonathan Appell is the founder of Atlas Preservation and has provided restoration and upkeep in some of America’s oldest cemeteries. The organization sponsors The 48 State Tour, where they perform a cemetery preservation workshop in each state.
On July 13, the tour will visit Troy to teach safe and effective techniques to repair and reset the headstones, the genealogical society recently announced. Treasurer Rachel Korte said the society was excited to take what started as a community project to the next level.
“Jonathan Appell specializes in preserving historical monuments and has worked on the oldest Colonial gravestone in America – The Knight’s Tombstone is located in the 1617 Church, Jamestown, Virginia,” Korte said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to have him visit Troy City Cemetery and offer his training at no charge.”
A time for the event at the Troy City Cemetery will be announced in the near future. The event will be free and open to all. Organizers recommend participants bring an outdoor chair, snacks, water, a hat, sunscreen, notebook, etc. If you are planning to participate in the hands on portion, wear old clothes and closed toe shoes.
During an event in April organized by the genealogical society, community members worked to restore the headstones of more than 50 veterans left without family who call the city cemetery their final resting place. Those in attendance donned water, a special cleaner, buckets and brushes and alo placed U.S. Flags on the gravesites.
The cleanings were done in strict accordance with National Park Service standards. All processes and chemicals used met the requirements in place at Arlington National Cemetery and other veterans cemeteries. Biographies on many of the veterans were included in packets distributed to volunteers, the work of many months of research by the genealogical society.
The results weeks later were obvious, as the headstones in many cases were restored to their original appearance. While it was a substantial start, Korte said there is still much work to be done.
“Many of the Veteran stones have settled so low that the names are no longer visible,” Korte said. “The average weight of a Veteran stone is 230 pounds so it’s important to reduce the chances of damage or injuries when resetting to the proper height. “
Korte said with the help of The 48 State Tour and Appell’s tutelage, it is hoped that volunteers can further efforts to repair the veterans’ monuments.
“With Jonathan’s training, Troy Genealogical Society hopes to continue restoring all of our local veteran monuments,” Korte said.