Dominion Energy has provided a $28,000 grant to the Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation which will be used for much-needed preservation work at the cemetery.
A number of people, including several Foundation Board members, descendants, City Manager Al Moor, Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett, Councilors Lue Ward and LeOtis Williams, were present for the February 9 ceremony at the cemetery, located on a corner lot behind the City’s Human Resources Building at 440 Market St.
“We are honored to support the historic Oak Lawn Cemetery in downtown Suffolk,” said Bonita Harris, Media Relations Manager for Dominion Energy. “It is important for us to remember and honor those who have gone before us, on whose shoulders we stand. Several local leaders and veterans are buried here, dating back to the Civil War, including Tuskegee Airman Lt. William H. Walker. They have contributed so much to our community and our country.
Hundreds of people are buried there, with markers dating back to the 1800s. Among them are John W. Richardson, president of Phoenix Bank of Nansemond, and Wiley H. Crocker, founder of the Tidewater Fair Association and Nansemond Development Corporation. In addition to community leaders, veterans who served in Vietnam, Korea, and World Wars I and II are buried here.
Reginald Dirtion, president of the Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation, said he was very pleased to receive the grant and that the money will be put to good use in addressing some long-standing issues at the cemetery.
He said many volunteers and groups such as First Baptist Church Mahan, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, have helped over the years with donations of time and money to care for the cemetery, but the money will allow him to speed up the work to embellish it. at the top.
“We have a lot of veterans there…and they’re going to continue to work with us to try to do other things,” Dirtion said, “because we’ve been struggling for two or three years trying to figure out how we We were going to get funds to run this cemetery.
He said that in some places, trees and tree branches have fallen and are obscuring and damaging the graves, and some headstones are cracked and broken. There are also potholes scattered in there that he would like to fix.
“It will be a big help for the cemetery,” Dirtion said. “I hope the (city) council will join us and try to help us, the city manager, if they can come in and give us some nice bins to put there.”
Want to help?
Anyone wishing to donate to the Oak Lawn Historic Cemetery Foundation to help preserve the cemetery can call Reginald Dirtion at 757-679-4358.