WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Oaklawn Memorial Gardens in Winston-Salem is hosting a Vet Walk Saturday to polish headstones and clean the area around the graves of veterans.
New management wants to show the community that it’s committed to addressing pre-existing concerns about the lack of upkeep.
Eddie Evans’ family would visit his uncle’s grave annually.
“I remember seeing dirt patches, seeing things that really weren’t the way they ought to be. While it was beautiful to remember him, it was also a little bit sad as if in a way he had been forgotten,” he said.
However, Evans says walking through the cemetery now has a different feel – seeing flowers on graves and grass growing.
“Between those dates was a life and story, and it just feels like there’s a tribute now to that story that was lived out, that influenced people, that made a difference,” he said.
Manager Ricky Lewis has been managing Oaklawn Memorial Gardens since July and admits he was nervous about turning the place around based on what he was hearing from families.
“I was scared, intimidated, people were very upset and disturbed. I think one of the biggest things was the overpromise and under-delivering,” he said.
He and family services counselor Danielle Jesserer want to make sure no one is forgotten.
“There are a lot of people out there who just don’t have loved ones I don’t think to tend to them, and that’s what we’re trying to do now is tend to them the way that their loved ones would have,” she said.
The Vet Walk clean-up event is Nov. 2 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Oaklawn Memorial Gardens located at 3250 High Point Road in Winston-Salem.
There will also be an opportunity to learn about programs for veterans.