Local tree-trimmers volunteer time to beautify Springfield National Cemetery

Published: Sep. 20, 2017 at 5:17 PM CDT
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Too often we don't take the time to appreciate those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

But today all across our nation some 2,000 volunteers visited 45 national cemeteries to spruce-up and beautify the final resting place for so many of our veterans.

In Springfield around 50 volunteers from nine area tree-trimming businesses showed up bright and early at the old National Cemetery at Seminole and Glenstone for a long, hot day of work. They could have been doing the same thing somewhere else earning money. But they gave that up to be at the cemetery for free.

"Everytime you look at all these people climbing the trees, grinding up the stumps, or looking at stuff that's got to be removed, this is all a matter of labor and love," said Dean Alberty, who was part of the original volunteer group five years ago.

"All of us competitors," added volunteer Noel Bowyer. "Most of the time we're competing for the same jobs but this is our one chance to get out here and kick butt together."

"Nobody cares what you know, they want to know that you care," said volunteer Kristian Schultz. "And I know that with this organization everybody cares. That's just so refreshing."

If you were driving past here today, you probably didn't give a second thought to seeing tree-trimmers at the cemetery. But if you were to come inside and see the endless rows-and-rows of headstones of people who have given their lives for our country, you'd understand why these workers felt it was very important for them to be here.

"There is a lot of emotion attached to being in a veternans cemetery," explained volunteer Cindy Garner. "It's hallowed ground. And I think everybody here feels that way."

"It's a somber experience," added volunteer Casey Jo Kellner. "We took a moment of silence this morning just to recognize those that have lost their loved ones."

"You see all these headstones around here and that all represents somebody that served," said volunteer Scott Gunzenhauser. "And if you think about that and let it sink in, it means a lot."

"Here we are in what I consider the greatest place to live on the planet," said volunteer Tim Crews. "And you look at these stones and this is the reason that we've got all these freedoms. So to trim a few trees and give a days worth of work, no problem."

"Every time I come out here I get to be reminded of what my grandfather gave," Alberty recalls. "He got wounded by a kamikaze plane that flew into his battleship. He had a limp and he carried shrapnel with him for the rest of his life. He never groaned or moaned about anything. And for me to be a part of this, for what my little part is, I'm very happy."