Veterans looking for help cleaning up cemetery in time for Memorial Day

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SOUTH ABINGTON TOWNSHIP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Memorial Day is four weeks away and veterans are disappointed in the poor condition of a Lackawanna County cemetery.

Veterans are now trying to find the owner. Even with the help of Lackawanna County’s Assessor’s Office, it’s still not clear who owns this cemetery.

Veterans continue to look to see who the owner is and now they’re calling on volunteers to help clean it up.

Garbage, tires, yard waste and brush surround hundreds of graves at Shady Lane Cemetery, including the men and women who served our country.

“You see hundreds if not thousands of brand new U.S. flags at the veterans’ graves. Amongst all the atrociousness,” Russell Reuthe said.

Over the weekend Reuthe and his honor squad gave military honors for a Vietnam veteran. His wish was to be buried in this cemetery and his wish wasn’t fully granted.

“The deceased’s sister walks up to us and says, ‘You know this is a really sad moment for us. My brother didn’t want to be buried like this’. Like that do you mean? Well he didn’t want to be cremated’,” Reuthe said.

Reuthe says the family could not have the grave dug because it’s private property and the owner or association could not be contacted.

“We don’t know at this time who owns this cemetery. We’re unsure of it,” Lackawanna County Veterans’ Affairs director David Eisele said.

Eisele came to the cemetery Monday with Commissioner Chris Chermak to see its condition. He found not all veterans’ graves were taken care of like those around the American flag.

All others were found in oversized brush. Now, Lackawanna County Veterans’ Affairs is looking for volunteers to help clean up the cemetery.

“Help out for now until we can figure out who owns this cemetery and how they can properly care for it,” Eisele said.

“I’m hoping we can get this cemetery cleaned up for Memorial Day but I don’t see that happening unless we get a tremendous amount of volunteers here,” Chermak said.

If you would like to volunteer and or know the owner or owners of this property give Lackawanna County Veterans’ Affairs a call.

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