It took more than a little elbow grease by a very few hard working and dedicated volunteers, but an unsightly, overgrown, weed- and bush-laden scene became one of promise of better things to come on Saturday as the clean-up of Oakwood Cemetery got underway.
"There weren't many of us working, but I think we actually made a lot of progress," said Friends of Oakwood Cemetery Chairman Judy Cooper. "We really did get a lot done, but without a doubt we're going to need another clean up day."
The group chopped down trees; uprooted bushes, wild plants, and ivy vines; cleared debris from around monuments and grave plots; and worked diligently on certain areas of the large cemetery in hopes of making a dent in the large amount of work and landscaping that needs to be done.
Volunteer Mark Heintzman uses a chainsaw to cut a tree from between two monuments at Oakwood Cemetery at the clean-up day on June 7.
The "Friends of the Oakwood Cemetery" group was officially formed in May to be a governing body to ensure the upkeep of the landmark cemetery in Sistersville which had been allowed to become overgrown and unsightly. Though heavy machinery and much more specific landscaping tools will eventually be needed to complete the renovation and restoration, the group feels the initial clean-up, monthly mowing and weed eating is necessary at this time.
In order to even be able to get a mower and weed eater to and through certain parts of the cemetery right now, smaller landscaping jobs such as the removal of small trees and bushes need to be seen to.
The Friends of the Oakwood Cemetery group will meet on June 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Sistersville Public Library to discuss the clean-up day, and possibly plan another.
The group will continue to meet on the first and third Thursday of each month at the Sistersville Library. These meetings are open to the public and everyone is invited and encouraged to attend.