Two community members fix torn down Dunn County cemetery wall

Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 10:14 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The wall at the entrance of a Dunn County cemetery is fixed after many weeks without repair when two community members took matters into their own hands.

At the Evergreen Cemetery in Menomonie, the wall looks like new after sustaining water damage from a major downpour weeks prior.

“It was just took way too much water for the the wall to withstand. And all the hydraulic pressure pushed the wall out in the center section of it. You can see that it’s not so even in the middle like it is in the end,” said Gary Cowles, the cemetery’s sexton.

He said getting it fixed was on the agenda.

“We’ve been trying to find a contractor that would do that, but they’re all booked up for a long time,” said Cowles.

But a fellow community member had different plans.

“We had been driving through this area in the past, and for several weeks we had noticed a wall fell down, and it was not getting repaired,” said Bryant Schoenick.

He is a retired handy man with an extensive background in construction. He and his grandson Owen pulled up to the cemetery last Friday evening to put in muscle, sweat and over two hours of work to place the massive blocks of the wall back where they belong.

“And we had to park the car out here so we could shine the lights on it and finish up,” said Bryant.

He said the cemetery is a popular hang out spot in the neighborhood.

“We have a respect and a reverence for the community. It’s incumbent upon all of us to take care of what we have. We can always depend on others to do that,” said Bryant.

Owen said he was just happy to help and spend quality time with his grandpa.

“And I got the satisfaction of getting it done in the end, so people can see that sometimes when stuff gets broken, there are still people out there that will go above and beyond to help the community and help fix stuff,” said Owen.

The kind act was just another example of a community looking out for each other.

“Then we were surprised to find that we had been taken care of. We’re really grateful,” said Cowles.

He said the wall will still undergo more work in the future, and there will also be more projects around the cemetery.