|Pitching In At Spring Grove Cemeter Cleanup|
|Written by Terry Mayer|
|Wednesday, 23 May 2012 14:48|
Photography by Terry Mayer
Students , staff, and volunteers from the area and St, Andrew Parish school in Delavan helped to clean up damage at Spring Grove Cemetery on may 18. Vandals damaged dozens of headstones in a historic section of the Delavan cemetery in April.
DELAVAN -- It’s one thing to witness history repeating itself. It’s another thing completely to forget that history, and a growing number of local residents are fighting to make sure the latter never occurs.
In January, Delavan Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis appointed the Civil War Monument Restoration Project Task Force, whose goal is to raise funds and oversee the replacement of sidewalks and straightening and renovation of the memorial at Spring Grove Cemetery.
Part of that goal was accomplished recently with an initial cleaning, but much more work remains to be done to the sculpture and surrounding area. The group estimates that it will need $20,000 to refurbish the monument and walkways, an effort they hope to complete during the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Civil War (through 2015).
Ken Wargo, a native Californian, was selected the committee’s chairman. He moved to Delavan five years ago and quickly learned the city’s rich history and the monument’s significant place in that heritage.
“I wondered why Veterans Memorial Park had no monument, and I started talking to American Legion members and doing research,” Wargo said. “In discovering that we already had a wonderful monument at Spring Grove Cemetery, I couldn’t ask for a new one when we weren’t taking care of the one we had.”
Wargo said the Civil War monument is a special symbol of those who served at a critical time in the country’s history and is too important to the fabric of the community not to make a concerted effort in righting an unfortunate wrong.
“This monument represents the founding fathers and leadership of Delavan and made the city what it is,” Wargo said. “This was constructed at a time when our democracy was fragile and all of our freedoms could have been lost. These people sacrificed their lives for this country. This monument and these people make you realize that this is hallowed ground.”
The committee has raised $2,000 so far and is optimistic that the rest of the funding will come to make sure future generations can enjoy and appreciate the 25-foot-tall monument that the Aram family and other investors financed and that Italian stone mason John Bossi created.