Local monument companies donate time to repair cemeteryWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
When the Maumee River flooded two weeks ago it sent huge chunks of ice careening into Riverside Cemetery in Maumee, knocking over monuments and destroying trees, fences and almost anything else in its path.
In all, nearly 90 percent of the 1,900 monuments in the cemetery were toppled over, moved off their foundation or otherwise damaged.
The total damage caused by the huge sheets of ice that covered River Road from Side Cut Metropark to Stitt Road has been estimated at over $1 million.
Two local monument companies, Artistic Memorials of Perrysburg and Maumee Valley Memorials of Waterville, are volunteering their equipment, manpower and time to reset the monuments and restore the cemetery to its original condition.
On March 23, both companies sent crane trucks and crews to the cemetery to reset headstones and identify those in need of repair. Some stones had been moved as much as 25 feet from their original locations, while a small percentage remain untouched, said Jeff Pettit, owner of Artistic Memorials.
“This work will take several days and may even span months to complete,” Pettit said. “[On March 23], the two crews were only able to upright approximately 100 of the nearly 1,700 monuments dislodged.
“The work is also hampered with nearly 50 percent of the cemetery still covered in 3-4 inches of ice,” he said.
Alan Taraschke, supervisor of operations for the City of Maumee, expressed his gratitude for the help from Artistic Memorials and Maumee Valley Memorials.
“The time and effort they have donated to the city of Maumee thus far has been invaluable,” Taraschke said. “The city normally only uprights 10 to 15 stones annually. A job of this magnitude requires the expertise of these two companies. I cannot express how much their help means to the city.”