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'it's the only way we can remember our family, it's all we have left of them' Families speak out on poor conditions for a local cemetery

Bethesda Cemetery is a place of remembrance for lost loved ones. The cemetery is visited by several families and of those families, many of them have concerns for the conditions. We hear their concerns first-hand.

Posted: May 8, 2019 7:00 PM

WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)-A cemetery is a place to stay connected with loves ones, however, ongoing concerns at a local burial ground cause some families to feel disrespected.

News 10 spoke with some of the families Wednesday morning.

They said these grave sites are the only way to keep the memories of their loved ones alive, so to see their plots covered with overgrown grass is a huge disappointment.

For people like Lila Elkins, the Bethesda Cemetery is where most of her family members are buried and she told us it's her priority to keep up their graves by putting out decorations.

Unfortunately, the overgrown grass prevents most of the plots from being visible which leaves Elkins and others to take matters into their own hands.

Elkins said she spent over two hours cleaning up the grave site just so that it could be presentable for Mother's Day.

"It is our space with them, it's our time with them, it's all we have left of them. So you know we would like to see it cleaned up and cut and taken care. It's just a disgrace to see it like this, it's a disgrace," said Elkins.

Thelma Smith also has concerns for the cemetery.

She lost her son a few years ago and often visits as a way to heal.

She told us the from the overgrown grass to stealing, the constant upkeep of the cemetery has been a battle for years and she's ready to see some change. 

"I  only can decorate his grave and take care of his grave it's the only thing I can ever do for him again and I can't even come out to do that because of the upkeep out here, how it is," said Smith.

Both of these women just want to see board members take responsibility for the area.

News 10 spoke with Bill Mclain, he is president of the board who oversees the property.

He said there has been a plan for weeks to go out and take care of the area but because of bad weather that has not happened.

Mclain said crew members will be on the site taking care of the overgrown grass on Thursday and Friday of this week.

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