New Owner Brings Life To Old Proximity Cemetery

5:37 PM, Jun 29, 2010   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC--The names of mothers, fathers, husbands, and babies are etched in stone at Proximity Mill Cemetery.

But time isn't so permanent.

Just one year ago, weeds towered over the tombstones and kept even family members off the property.

"It's so rewarding to know that someone has enough interest in humanity to come in and do something about this," says Becky Weaver.

Weaver is looking for a family member.

"Angeline Wilson Alberty. She is my great grandmother."

The last time she came looking, she couldn't make out the words.

"The grass was up to your waist, you couldn't even see the tombstones."

But, new owner John Sweeper lives right behind this cemetery; and he's bringing new life to this burial ground.

"We want to make it look beautiful," says Sweeper. "And if we don't take care of our neighborhood, what are we going to do? We just can't sit and let it go."

He's cutting down overgrown trees, adding a drainage system, and a circular drive, so it's easier to enter and exit.

Even though he has no family members buried here, he says its out of respect to those gone before us.

"Once you leave this world, you need someone to take care of you."

It's not only giving a new look to an old cemetery; it's changing eternal plans of nearby neighbors.

"Now, I thought...this is my home, and I'd like to rest here too," says neighbor Loretta Jennings.

"Now would you have said this two months ago before the renovations?"

"Oh, absolutely not. Hadn't even crossed my mind."

The renovation process may take a year or two to finish.

But to many, it's already making a world of difference.

The property owner is using his own money for the renovations.

If you'd like to volunteer, they're looking for anyone who can operate small equipment, like lawnmowers, weed eaters and rakes. They also need people to help record what's on tombstones for cemetery records. Just call 336-482-6319, or send a monetary donation to PO Box 13438 Greensboro, NC 27415.

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