A Florida mailman spends his Sundays cleaning veterans‘ headstones at a rundown cemetery near Jacksonville, Florida. While down in Tampa, they have someone who is known as “The Good Cemeterian,” who is helping to restore a graveyard dedicated to soldiers.
The Good Cemeterian Cleans Tampa’s L’Unione Italiana Cemetery
Andrew Lumish, 46, has never served in the military but he took it upon himself to honor our fallen veterans for our country by spending his free time scrubbing and cleaning their gravestones.
When he first stumbled upon them, it was when he was pursuing his passion for photography. Seeing the headstones moldy and covered in mildew touched something in Lumish. Seeing that there might even be some who do not have families left, he chose to step in and fill the role.
He has earned the name “The Good Cemeterian” among the locals when word got out that he was doing this. Lumish said this is
“an opportunity to restore some of the dignity and honor that they have earned.”
Throughout his cleaning process, he has unearthed many of the fallen soldier’s stories and most of them are moving. In an interview with NPR, he claimed that they uncover heroes, and essentially, they are right.
“They were not considered heroes of their day, so I hope that some of the stories that I tell make people appreciate the men and women that serve currently. There are heroes today that surround us on a daily basis.”
A North Florida Mailman Spends Sundays Cleaning Veterans’ Gravestones
Sixty-year-old mailman Clarence Hollowell spent Memorial Day weekend at the Old City Cemetery in Springfield near Jacksonville. This is where he cleaned the headstones of captain S.L. Tibbitts, and 1st Lieutenant Joseph H. Huau.
He has served in the Army himself, and he says he comes from a military family. Hollowell says that if
“one person comes over and looks, I’m happy.”
To date, he has cleaned over 600 tombstones. And according to him, it takes about two or three weeks. After he cleans the tombstones, he writes down their names and investigates about their origins and their lives.
“They were 18, 20-year-old boys that didn’t come home. My definition of Memorial Day is they gave their tomorrows so I could have mine today.”