Many of us don’t often think about tombstones unless we are visiting someone we love that has one. But, far to often the tombstones of those who have few if any visitors go neglected for months even years without maintenance. While this would seem to be a graveyard’s job, not every plot site stays on top of maintaining headstones. This is one reason why Kelly Mulvany’s story is so inspirational. Back when the coronavirus pandemic began, the Grand Mound, Washington resident found herself taking long walks through the Grand Mound Cemetary with her granddaughter. But she soon observed that “all the military headstones covered in mold and moss and mildew and I’m like those aren’t supposed to look like that.”
Feeling inspired to make a small difference, Kelly, whose family is buried in a different cemetery, decided to get her shovel, buckets, and gloves, and start tidying up the headstones herself.
“The people aren’t forgotten, but sometimes the headstones get old and covered with dirt and people can’t get here,” she said.
She would end up putting in countless hours of hard work, and soon Kelly became known as the Rochester Cemetary Cleaning Angel. She takes her time to wash away many years of wear and tear. She also trims back areas over headstones where nature started to take over.
One by one, Kelly Mulvaney has been cleaning the grave stones at Grand Mound Cemetery just south of Olympia. So far she’s edged, cleaned and made nearly 600 gravesites look new again.
She’s been dubbed the Rochester Cemetery Cleaning Angel pic.twitter.com/D9EJNVrdEc
— Devon Haskins (@devonhaskins) October 8, 2020
Vickie Mckinney, Crystal Hitchcock’s mother, is buried at Gand Mound Cemetary. She passed away in 1989 after her car collided head-on with a semi-truck.
“It’s incredible the work that she (Kelly) does,” Crystal said.
“I can’t believe that somebody would be kind enough to do that and take so much time out of their day and their week and year and do that for somebody else that they don’t even know.”