Residents of Helena participate in cemetery cleanup

Published 3:47 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023

By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff Writer

HELENA – A successful cleanup was had at Harmony Cemetery, with many residents coming together to ensure the area was clear and clean.

In 2010, Troop 2 Life Scout, Dalton Sparks, chose to restore a “Forgotten Cemetery” as his Eagle Project.

Linda Wurstner has participated in the project previously, working on the original “Forgotten Cemetery Project” and shared some information on the most recent cleanup.

“We had a successful first clean up at the Harmony Cemetery,” Wurstner said. “Over 20 Helena Belles, joined us (HHPC), scouts and concerned citizens to get a huge pile of debris out of the cemetery. The meditation garden was restored—lined with rocks that used to mark the graves before crosses took their place. Many of the graves have been revealed again.”

The Helena Historic Preservation Committee, known as the HHPC said that the original congregation for the cemetery is no longer present in Helena.

“As I was part of the original 2010 cleanup with my scout son, I have tried through the years to maintain it,” Wurstner said. “My daughter, Rachel, weeded and restored the meditation garden as part of her ‘Give Me Five’ community service hours, around 2015. I brought up the idea several times to the HHPC, through the years, to see if the high school kids could be made aware of the service hours needed there, so they could fulfill their ‘Give Me Five’ requirements. Unfortunately, the program has been suspended.”

The group participated in removing debris and overgrown ground cover in the area.

“So, last fall our group noticed how overgrown the area looked and posted the above history of it on our Facebook page,” Wurstner said. “Many in the community wanted to help us clean it up, so we set a goal of doing that in the Spring of 2023. We invited the community to show up, and they did. Over 20 Helena Belles and a few of their parents helped.

Scouts from Troop 2 came out, one, Brian Randazzo, named per Hal Woodman, now in his 20s, was with Troop 2 several years ago when the troop came out to clean up the cemetery as a troop project to follow up on Dalton’s 2010 Eagle Project. It has been officially cleaned up by Troop 2 twice.

Woodman said the property was turned over to the city many years ago.

“We had a nice turn out of members of the community,” Wurstner said. “Five members of our group also came out to help.”

Wurstner said she hopes that this cemetery will continue to be cleaned up in the upcoming years.

“This cemetery is so historic and many do care about it,” Wurstner said. “We hope to bring it back to respectable shape with future cleanups. We hope to have more frequent cleanups.”