‘They’re my heroes’: Group cleaning veterans’ graves before Veterans Day

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – More than 300 veterans are buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Savannah. But when you take a walk through the grounds, you’ll find overgrown grass, debris and trash.

Two local veterans are working to change that before Veterans Day, so that fallen heroes can be honored properly.

“My goal is to make a path to every veteran grave out here and put a flag down by it,” said Art Patterson.

The state of the cemetery is an upsetting sight to Art, who served in the military for more than 20 years.

“You learn a lot about responsibility,” he said. You learn a lot about caring. You learn a lot about safety. You learn a lot about sharing. And with those factors in mind, it’s very easy to come out and get a job done.”

Art has been cleaning the cemetery for two years now. With the help of his son plus his friend, Joe, the group is working to cut down the grass and touch up graves.

“As long as there’s veterans out here and as long as I can breathe, I’m gonna come out here and I’m gonna clean this grave,” Joe Pelote said.

Like Art, Joe is a veteran who served in the army for 26 years. He feels their cleanup work is giving back to those who risked their lives for others.

“Seeing it all grown up like that it depresses me really,” Joe said. “It does some good to my heart to see those veterans that served, you know. They’re my heroes. They’ll always be my heroes.”

The owner of the privately-owned cemetery died and the city has been trying to take ownership of the land. But for now, it’s up to Art and others in the community to care for the graves.

“I’ve always had a firm belief that a cemetery is a sacred ground,” Art said. “It’s where those people that loved us and we loved them have passed away and this is their final resting place. Well, to disrespect that is a hurting thing.”

The group is looking for more hands to get the job done. They plan to be back at Evergreen Cemetery this Saturday and Sunday starting at 9 a.m. to continue their work.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.