WAVERLY — It may be spooky season, but volunteers in Waverly have been working hard all summer to make the village cemeteries a little less ominous.
The Friends of Waverly Cemetery Preservation, a nonprofit group led by resident Ron Keene, have made it their mission to clean up the municipality’s three cemeteries — the Glenwood Cemetery located by Waverly Glen Park; the Forest Home Cemetery located on Elm Street; and the Factoryville Cemetery located between state Route 34 and Ball Street.
The group was first established in 2008, but now volunteers are looking to revamp efforts to maintain and preserve the cemeteries.
“We had a solid crew,” member Kyle McDuffee said. “But we kind of want to get the group back together and focus on fixing up these cemeteries.”
For the time being, that means just simply straightening the headstones, many of which — especially older headstones — have been shifted and tilted severely over time.
“There are headstones in here from the Civil War — even the Revolutionary War,” said Dan Eiklor, referring to the Factoryville Cemetery. “A lot of the people buried here don’t have local families around anymore. So someone has to remember them and keep this place maintained.”
“It’s really a self-fulfilling job and it feels good to help,” McDuffee added. “All of the people buried here had families here at one point. There’s just so much history.”
After fixing up the headstones, the group plans to look into methods to bring out the names and dates on the old stones to make them more legible.
Until then, McDuffee said the group is looking for a few more volunteers who recognize the importance that cemeteries have to communities.
“All you really need is some gloves and a shovel,” he said. “We only work for a couple of hours at a time, because we know people are busy and can only put in so much time.”
Those interested in learning more about the group or possibly volunteering are asked to contact Keene at 607-575-9377 or McDuffee at firstname.lastname@example.org.