STORM TEAM: Storm-battered cemetery cleaned up in time for Memorial Day

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- This Memorial Day local families will have a clean cemetery once against to visit veterans and loves ones all thanks to the kindness of strangers.

Lakeview Cemetery in Eau Claire was badly damaged by Thursday night’s wind storm which downed trees and blew branches and leaves across grave sites.

But Sunday afternoon, dozens of people came with rakes, wheel barrows and coolers to be part of the city’s first ever “Flash Mob Cleanup”.

The mission: get the cemetery clear of trees and debris by Memorial Day.

“I'm so happy that people are willing to come out here in this heat and contribute so everyone can respect their loved ones,” said Heather Crandall, a volunteer from Eau Claire.

The city of Eau Claire said it wants to make sure the cemetery is safe for Memorial Day, one of the busiest days of the year for cemeteries.
“It would have taken weeks or months,” said Todd Chwala, the Supervisor of Parks, Forestry and Cemeteries.

Chwala said the flash mob was the idea of City Personnel Director Dale Peters.

He said the city put the call out about the flash mob on its Facebook page.

The Blake Family of Eau Claire said they were drawn to join the flash mob because they have several family members buried at the cemetery.

“But also to honor the veterans that have died and just wanted to have a practical way of showing our gratitude,” Michael Blake said.

Joyce Orth said her home was badly damaged in the storm.

She said she wanted to give back to the community that’s helped her so much in her recent time of need.

“It's very humbling. That’s why we love Eau Claire,” Orth said.

The city said the big tree piles should be out of the cemetery by the end of the week.

“We can regrow trees, but what we don't have to worry about is re-growing is the community spirit,” Chwala said.

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