During a recent walk through of the cemeteries in Newbury there was something that was very unsettling. Several grave marker flags were on the ground covered in dirt from vehicles driving on them, and there was also several flags jammed in to trash barrels. This is not acceptable.
Recently we have found the sticks from grave marker flags on the ground next to the flag box. They don’t fit in the box and sometimes if they are forced in the box they get jammed. PROBLEM SOLVED!! Today we added a piece of PVC where people can leave their sticks. We will save these sticks for the flag retirement ceremony. Please de-attached them from the grave marker flags and leave the stick in the PVC.
Located on High Rd in Newbury, Massachusetts. The First Parish Burying Ground is home to several First Settler’s as well as several veterans that have served in wars including American Revolution War, Civil War, World War I and World War II.
This project began in the summer of 2015, one year after become the Veteran Grave Officer. In my first year I placed the flags and going off very limited information and guidance, and prior to me there was no official Veteran Grave Officer appointed in Newbury. I realized that the records of the veterans in this cemetery were non existent. I just walked around and tried to find old flags and clues around headstones.
A community group, established to assist, provide, and create Town Records with regards to Burying Grounds and Cemeteries within the town. As well as, preservation, protecting and care for historic landmarks. Primarily self-funded, efforts would thrive from support through community outreach, fundraiser events and other activities. Utilizing the State Senior Citizen Tax-Abatement Program, Senior Citizens will be given the chance to reduce their property tax. Their service will assist with helping create documents and research which will become town records and documents.
As the Veteran Grave Officer for the Town of Newbury I get approached often by those looking to properly and respectfully retire their flag. It seemed like a growing concerning, or that just more and more people were approaching me. Without any solid answer and response I decided to take matters in my own hands and create a solution for that – one they can see when they drive around town, and open and available 24/7 – 365 days a year.
The question now was, ‘What can I do to create a location for the community to properly dispose of their flags?’. I thought about building a box out of wood, thought about creating something like a book drop that the library has, then after some research I saw pictures of other people across country have used an old retired curbside mailbox and transformed it to collect flags. Made perfect sense. Now the quest begun, how and where do I obtain an old mailbox.
As the Veteran Grave Officer, a position I have been appointed to by the Selectman of Newbury. My duties include placing of flags as well as care, repair and maintaining the veteran graves within the town, at all the cemeteries and burying grounds in Newbury.
This year, and years going forward, a couple Senior Citizens in Town will be able to work-off no more then $1,100 off their property tax by helping and assisting the Veteran Grave Officer. This breaks down to 100 hours of work at the rate $11 per hour. Senior Citizens are not required to dedicate all 100 hours, but their tax break will only reflect the amount of hours they have worked.
With Comcast Negotiations and Contract Renewal for the Town underway. I hope to bring a Senior Citizen Discount to Newbury for all Comcast Users in Newbury who are Senior Citizens. Looking into this and researching more into it. I feel we can make some sort of offer that works.
People ask me, ‘Out of everything you do, what do you enjoy the most?’. My favorite thing and something I truly enjoy is being the Veteran Grave Officer for the Town of Newbury. The role, as outlined by M.G.L Chapter 115; Section 9, is more then just placing flags for Memorial Day.
A great community Thanksgiving hosted by the Newburyport Lions Club. Serves the community by having meals delivered to residents home who cant make it out or they join us for a massive seat down dinner. This year we had about 90 meals prep for delivery, about 110 residents sat with us and additional meals were taken home with guest. The meals serves meals senior citizens, single parent, folks who are homeless and families who may struggle.
Boston Marathon Fundraiser 2013
Months following the event I set up a local fundraiser show to raise funds for the OneFund. The show featured local bands, and pulled support from community.
Coin Toss / VIP Treatment
The headlining band ended up winning a raffle item prize which was donated by the New England Revolution, the Ceremony Coin Toss. The band was also given 4 Club Seats, and VIP Parking. Following the coin toss the Revolution Organization thanked them their efforts and supporting the victims of the Marathon Bombing. Continue reading