Good Samaritans a cemetery godsend

July 22, 2019 07:30 PM

ALBANY - Through steady rain is no way to mow the lawn, especially when the lawn is spread out over several acres, the grass is several feet high, and the land on which you're mowing happens to be a cemetery dating back to 1867, and belongs to someone else.

"It was his (my boyfriend Travis Winkleman's) idea and he saw your story on the news and wanted to check it out and see if he could do it," said Billie Riley, of Corinth, drenched in rain-soaking clothing while taking a lunch break from her impromptu cemetery work Monday morning.

NewsChannel 13 first reported on the overgrowth and neglect at Albany's Evangelical Protestant Church Cemetery on Krumkill Road last week. Travis Winkleman was watching.

"Last week, I challenged everybody on Facebook to do a random act of kindness and I went out and did one last week," Winkleman asserted. "I'm going to challenge their butts again today."

In other words, Winkleman and Riley don't mind doing the work, but they could use some help.

"We would really love to get the job done," Riley stated. "We have lives. We have to go home eventually."

Until that time comes, Riley and Winkleman intend to load their lawnmower, a weed-whacker, and a supply of gasoline into their SUV, travel to Albany, and continue the painstaking task, which includes uncovering the graves of American war heroes, some of whom fought in the Civil War.

"Knowing that these veterans are a little better taken care of is more important than money," Winkleman said. "Somebody has to pay their respect to them, it's not being done. Here I am."

That seems to be a motivating factor for both Winkleman and Riley, along with their belief that it's simply the right thing to do.

"It's just really sad and everyone deserves to be able to pay respects to their family," Riley reiterated. "There's also a lot of veterans here, a lot of men and women who served in wars. They should be shown respect."

Which is exactly what these two good Samaritans are doing.


Dan Levy

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