It was all hands on deck at the Protestant Cemetery in Nesquehoning Thursday morning as VFW members and Panther Valley students partnered together to clean up the cemetery ahead of Memorial Day weekend.
The cemetery, which is in need of a group to handle the upkeep of the site, got a much-needed makeover in a short period. JROTC students worked along with VFW members to right gravestones, some dating back to the late 1800s; cut the grass; and remove old American flags in preparation of placing new ones in the coming weeks.
Councilwoman Lois Corby Kuba, who has relatives buried in the cemetery and was there in her capacity as president of the Nesquehoning Historical Society, was thrilled to see the work the volunteers were doing.
She pointed out that the group righted and repaired nearly a dozen gravestones during the day.
Kuba said that the VFW is helping with the cemetery until a board for cemetery maintenance can be re-formed, hopefully for June.
All materials used during the cleanup were donated by the volunteers, including Mayor Tom Kattner.
“This is a very good learning experience for these kids,” Kuba said.
First Sgt. Bob Shannon, PV JROTC instructor, praised the eight students he brought to the cemetery.
“We love getting out and helping the community,” he said. “One of our goals is to get our cadets out and give back a little bit. We try to teach them to give back and to take on responsibility.”
JROTC battalion commander Molly White was proud of the work they were doing for the community.
“It really warms my heart to see the kids help the community, even though you get all sweaty,” she said. “It’s hard, you get tired but you push through it and we did what we needed to do. When people ask us to help out, we always come out when we can.”
Kyrah Sholtis, private in JROTC, added that doing community service like this is important because it helps teach the cadets responsibility, as well as helps the towns they live in.
“It recognizes the people who died and to see what we’re doing, it makes me proud, because the people here deserve better,” she said.
Kattner commended the students and volunteers who came out to help with the cleanup.
“Nesquehoning is not a falling apart town,” he said. “It’s coming back bigger and better. That’s what happens when you get people involved. People want to come back.”
Members of Meeds United Methodist Church are still working to re-form the board to maintain the cemetery. A meeting on the matter is being planned.
If you would like to be a part of the board, call the church at 570-669-9212 and leave a message addressed to Mary Fox or Kuba.
Members of the Nesquehoning VFW and Panther Valley JROTC work to right fallen gravestones in the Protestant cemetery on Center Street in Nesquehoning. Seen here are, from left, Nesquehoning Mayor Tom Kattner; RT Bliss, senior vice commander of the VFW; Commander Craig Strohl; and Darien Moyer of Panther Valley JROTC. AMY MILLER/TIMES NEWS
Members of the Nesquehoning VFW and Panther Valley JROTC worked on Thursday to right fallen gravestones, as well as cut grass in the Protestant cemetery on Center Street in Nesquehoning. Seen here are VFW Commander Craig Strohl and RT Bliss, senior vice commander. Behind the gravestone is Nesquehoning Mayor Tom Kattner.
Nesquehoning Mayor Tom Kattner glues a righted gravestone back together at the Protestant cemetery in the borough.
Members of the Panther Valley JROTC and Nesquehoning VFW stop for a photo during cleanup at the Protestant cemetery in Nesquehoning. Kneeling are Kyrah Sholtis and Molly White. Standing, from left, Nesquehoning Mayor Tom Kattner; Edward Evans; VFW Senior Vice Commander RT Bliss; Gregory Ruslavage; Connor Stefanick; Darien Moyer; Kyle Binder; 1st Sgt. Bob Shannon, JROTC instructor; and Craig Strohl, VFW commander.
Members of the Nesquehoning VFW and Panther Valley JROTC work to right fallen gravestones in the Protestant cemetery on Center Street in Nesquehoning. Front are, RT Bliss, senior vice commander of the Nesquehoning VFW; and 1st Sgt. _______. Behind them are, from left,
Members of the Panther Valley JROTC and Nesquehoning VFW work to right a gravestone.
Connor Stefanick and Kyle Binder work on preparing a gravestone base. AMY MILLER/TIMES NEWS