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Reader Opinion: Thanks to cemetery volunteers

Due to the late snowfall and cool spring, cemetery personnel have been extra busy preparing the grounds at the Evergreen and Memorial Gardens cemeteries for Memorial Day. With the change in our culture of cremation and no interment, our burials and income have declined by more than 50 percent in recent years. This has affected our overall finances forcing a reduction this year of our seasonal staff by one-third. As we look to the future, volunteers will be needed for upkeep of our cemeteries.

Spring is a time we can always use volunteers, and fortunately this spring area Scouts volunteered for which we are grateful. Three Scout troops and family members volunteered to pick up litter and rake leaves: Girl Scout Troop No. 358 cleaned up the area by the southwest gate and east along the fence; Boy Scout Troop No. 43 cleaned along the fence from the First Avenue gate south; and, Boy Scout Troop No. 45 cleaned from the First Avenue gate northward along the fence. They raked up over 80 bags of leaves! Grounds Superintendent Rusty Billman, along with the Board of Trustees, is very appreciative of all their work.

Special thanks to Jon Peterson for his volunteer work over the years, and for providing on-site supervision of the Scout volunteers. Also thanks to other volunteers who helped with mowing, flower bed maintenance and general cleanup.

There are several opportunities during the year that volunteers can help with the upkeep of Evergreen and Memorial Gardens cemeteries. Individuals or groups who may be interested in volunteering can contact Executive Director Karen Lentz at evergreencem@brainerd.net.

Thank you to the greater Brainerd community for your ongoing support of our cemeteries, and particularly this spring thanks to area Scouts and other volunteers.

Duane Blanck

President, Evergreen Cemetery Association

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