Jimmie Murphy, a local veteran who served in Vietnam, has taken it upon himself to clean up the veterans section at Crestlawn Memorial Cemetery.
“The hedges was all grown up. The walls was black and sort of dreary and old. This deck right here was not very good,” said Murphy, at the memorial.
“So I came out and I started trimming hedges, all the bushes around here. The veterans’ graves on the back side, I cleaned up that section. I painted the walls and wound up painting the deck here. We painted the pole and hung a new flag and things here.
“So that’s what we’re doing, we’re trying to maintain it, get it back up.”
Murphy is a member of the American Legion and of the Midway Veterans Memorial Committee.
It’s important for veterans to help each other out, he said. Murphy voluntarily spends his time putting up flags at memorial sites and working to preserve them.
Crestlawn Memorial Cemetery fell out of maintenance following the death of owner Dale Shackelford in 2017. Volunteers took it upon themselves to organize the cleanup of the graveyard. The cemetery was controversial before then, as Shackelford’s ownership of the site was plagued by legal battles with banks and complaints from people with family buried in the cemetery.
Crestlawn Memorial Cemetery was purchased by Everette “Junior” Partin and his wife Jennifer Partin in March of this year.
“We are doing our best to clean up the place and fix past problems,” said Jennifer Partin.
“We are paying out of pocket for everything done and are doing the best we can.
“ We hope in time people see just how much love and effort we are putting into this cemetery for the community and families.”
“I’m so excited to see what they do with the cemetery,” said Grant Bolt of Johnson’s Funeral Home.
“They’ve already made some improvements. I think they’ll be good for the cemetery.”
Murphy is also optimistic about the cemetery’s new owners.
“They need a chance to get everything started right. It’s been a headache for awhile, but what they’re doing, they’re helping a lot of people out.”
“Mr. Murphy contacted my husband and asked if he could be of assistance in the veteran section,” said Jennifer Partin.
“This man went above and beyond for the veterans and is an honorable man. We are truly blessed to have him step up and help.”
This Memorial Day, Jimmie Murphy wants people to celebrate and remember what the holiday truly means.
“Lot of people, lot of families, really we all have relatives or friends who served,” said Murphy.
“It’s brought us honor and it’s what made this country strong.”
Noah Oldham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.