Acres Homes cemetery gets a cleanup

June 4, 2009 4:14:48 PM PDT
A cemetery used for decades as the final resting place for dozens of veterans in Acres Homes is now an overgrown mess. Volunteers are working to clean up the cemetery located off Wheatley and Conklin. For some of the workers, it's out of respect for their families.

Every branch cut and removed and every tree pushed over means Cynsquinthia Hooks is one step closer to finding her grandparents gravesite.

"My grandparents are buried here. I know because I was at the funeral when I was 14 and I know they were buried over there by those overgrown trees. But they didn't have a tombstone," said Hooks.

Hooks is one of numerous volunteers with Abundance Living, an ex-offender re-entry program.

"Our main office is only two blocks away and we pass by here every day and since we've been here the past three years we wanted to do something about clearing this cemetery and turn it into what it looks like today," said Wanda Seals of Abundance Living.

Abundance Living has access this summer to the national volunteer group Americorps. Together they are clearing out an estimated five acres of thick overgrown brush covering what used to be known 20 years ago as Restlawn Cemetery in Acres Homes in northwest Houston.

"The greatest discovery was this cross which you couldn't even see from the street," said one volunteer.

The three-foot high wooden cross was uncovered Wednesday as well as grave markers for several local veterans. Bits of local history that volunteers want to recognize, respect and remember.

"Now I can find them and go to visit them and giving back to the community as well," said Hooks.

The clearing will go on as long as the volunteers last and we are told that will be for the next several weeks.

The volunteers are also sparking the interest of another group of people wanting to help out: neighbors of the cemetery.

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