PARAMUS, N.J. -- A Daily Voice story about grass and weeds covering military veterans' graves at George Washington Memorial Park in Paramus has prompted a group of good Samaritans to organize a cleanup. Want to help?
Volunteers for Vets Without Voices plans to clear debris and overgrowth from each of the veterans' headstones in the Paramus Road cemetery -- nearly 3,000 in all.
They'll begin on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 7 a.m. -- and are seeking like-minded volunteers to join them.
The Sept. 23 Daily Voice story was inspired by North Arlington native Sean Murphy, who found grass and weeds covering vets' graves when he went to pay respects to his late mother-in-law.
"Some stones were completely covered over. Some said Purple Heart recipients," he said. "You have to dig to see that they're even there."
The non-profit, non-sectarian association that owns the cemetery mows and removes snow and trash -- but cannot afford to constantly clear overgrown graves.
"Me and the kids cleared a couple graves off that were nearby my mother-in-law's," Murphy said. We could have spent the day here [clearing more].
"Something should be done to clean this up."
"The story struck a nerve with me," said Gina Marie Kiely, "but I went about my day. Later, my friend Roy De Young Jr posted about how he wanted to go clean those graves.
"We talked a bit and decided to make a thing out of it."
DeYoung, a Maywood firefighters and DPW foreman, spoke with officials at the cemetery.
"My father is a World War II veteran from the Marine Corps who was in Nagasaki," he told Daily Voice. "This is the least I could do for these veterans."
DeYoung then sat down with Kiely and Darryl De Mott, a Ramsey fire official who lives in Rochelle Park. Together, they created Volunteers For Vets Without Voices .
"We simply cannot do this huge task alone. We are asking our community for help," Kiely said.
"Join us that day, bring a shovel, weed whacker, blower or your bare hands and help us clear the area around each headstone, so that the name of each service member is properly visible and each and every veteran is given the proper respect they deserve," she said.
All volunteers must be registered.
To REGISTER, email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
"Spend a few hours of your time giving back to those who fought for our freedom," Kiely said.
"Thanks for inspiring us!" she told Daily Voice.
MORE INFO: https://www.facebook.com/vetswithoutvoices/
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