Marietta's cemeteries were in good shape for the Memorial Day holiday last week, thanks largely to the efforts of several workers with Alliance Petroleum Corporation.
"Bobbi Laurer with the local Alliance Petroleum office reached out after reading a (May 16 Marietta Times) article about our lack of manpower to keep the cemetery grounds maintained," Marietta safety-service director Jonathan Hupp said Monday.
The article relayed concerns from some area families who had to trim weeds and grass growing around the graves of loved ones buried in Oak Grove Cemetery.
Photo submitted by Dora Silvis
Workers from Alliance Petroleum Corporation brought company grass trimmers to help get Marietta’s cemeteries in shape for last week’s Memorial Day holiday.
Cemetery department foreman Tom Kunz had explained that, due to budget constraints, the city only had two full-time workers to maintain all three city cemeteries as well as dig graves for burials.
Laurer, office manager at Alliance Petroleum's southern Ohio field office in Marietta, shared the news story with company president Tom Wright and suggested that Alliance employees could help with the cemetery maintenance.
"He was all for it," Laurer said. "I have about 12 workers at the southern office who maintain and pump our well sites in Washington and surrounding counties. They all have grass trimmers, and took a day off from their normal routines. A couple of ladies from our corporate office in Canton came down to help, too."
She said the Alliance workers met Kunz at Oak Grove Cemetery at 8 a.m. and worked until 2:30 p.m. on May 24.
"We just did some good old-fashioned yard work," Laurer said. "The ladies brought brooms and followed the weed-trimmers, sweeping the grass and dust off of the gravestones."
The Alliance crews also helped with some trimming work at the city's Mound and Harmar cemeteries.
"We were going to buy them pizzas for lunch, but they said 'no-we're buying pizzas for the city workers,'" Hupp said. "And they offered to keep helping on a regular basis."
He said Dora Silvis, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Alliance Petroleum's Canton office, suggested the company could assist at least once every three months with the cemetery maintenance.
"I suggested that they just contact us on the Monday before Memorial Day if they wanted to help next year," Hupp said. "It was great for them to come and they even brought their own equipment so that we could have the cemeteries ready for Memorial Day."
"Alliance looks forward to making this an annual activity," Silvis said in an email Monday afternoon.
"We're thrilled that Mr. Wright is our new president, and in keeping with his request, Alliance Petroleum Corporation will be making an effort to be involved with our community," she added.
Hupp said the city's groundskeeping crews were bolstered Monday with the arrival of newly-hired workers through the Washington County Jobs and Family Services Summer Youth Employment Program.
Three of those workers were hired for the public facilities department, which maintains the city cemeteries.