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.