Crews work to clean up Kensett Cemetery following storm

Kensett Cemetery damaged following storms

KENSETT, Ark. (KTHV) - Families and crews are working to clean up and restore the Kensett Cemetery where Tuesday night’s storm left its mark.

Following the storm, you could barely access the cemetery where at least four trees were torn from the ground, falling on dozens of tombstones. Now, the town, county road department, and families are stepping in.

"We've lived here for 18 years," said John Phillips, who lives down the road from the cemetery. “Me and my wife both going to be buried right here in this cemetery. I just love this little place."

Phillips, like many in Kensett, said the damage to the cemetery is heartbreaking.

"It’s never going to be the same again," said Phillips.

His niece’s tombstone is one of the many overtaken by a fallen tree.

“It broke her [mother's] heart pretty bad too," said Phillips.

Many tombstone are knocked down, turned, or cracked. The full extent of the damage won't be known until all of the trees are picked up.

“There’s still quite a few trees down," said Kensett Police Chief John Pollard. "There’s probably going to be three or four days out here working, good hard days."

Pollard has heard the community express concern, while also offering help.

"I mean we've had a tremendous amount of people call," said Pollard.

Bill Mills is on the Cemetery Committee. He visited the cemetery the night of the storm to check out the damage. His uncle's tombstone was just one of many that were knocked over.

"It was hit by a big tree limb and just knocked backwards,” said Mills.

He already had it repaired and now he’s working with city, county, and volunteer crews to clean up the rest.

“I’d be willing to get hot dogs and bottled water if that’s what it takes to get it looking like it’s supposed to be," said Phillips, who hopes the community will continue to step in.

The Cemetery Committee said they hope to work with a monument company to reset the fallen tombstones. They haven't met to discuss an official plan yet, but said repair funds may have to come from the families as well as donations.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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