Despite the heat and humidity, volunteers once again came together to maintain the grounds of Hollywood Cemetery, an official historic site.
At 8 a.m. on June 11 at least a dozen volunteers were already working.
Each volunteer brought their personal vehicle, truck, weed killer, lawnmower and various tools to complete their assigned tasks.
Citizens from the community and from outside the community were moved in to help with the service project.
Some were neighbors of board members, some have family based in Hollywood, and some have come from as far away as Bridge City to help.
Alan Hollier came with his truck and lawnmower. He spent part of his Saturday mowing the lawn, embellishing one of Orange’s historic monuments.
“I just saw it on Facebook,” Hollier said. “I’m from Bridge City and drove here last night. I saw that it was not going well, so I wanted to help.
Citizens like Johnnie Francis have been helping for years.
He mentioned that he has posted flyers at local churches asking for help with the work he does on Saturdays. He was preparing to spray herbicide to manage weed growth when he took a break to talk with Orange Press.
“Some of the people on the board are elderly or deceased and some [of the people interred here] here have no living relatives to come,” Francis said.
Two elected officials present to help included Pro-Tem Mayor Paul Burch and District 3 council member Terrie Salter-Turner. This was Burch’s first time working in the field alongside volunteers.
“It’s important work,” he said. “I have family here; I have a multicultural family. But I would be here to help even if I didn’t have family here because I’m community oriented.
Burch and Salter-Turner discussed plans for continuous improvements on the Hollywood pitch.
With donations and help, they imagine a space where visitors can sit in the shade of a tree and reflect.
Hollywood is now aptly named. The lawn is mowed, the flowers have been laid, and the stars and stripes are planted in their place; next to the final resting places of the many World War II veterans who are buried on the grounds.
Members of the Hollywood Community Cemetery Association have previously told Orange Newsmedia that they sincerely appreciate the efforts made in May and this month by volunteers and hope it will reflect a turning point for Texas’ official historic cemetery.
Many board members are deceased or unable to serve in a direct capacity. All members of the community interested in serving in the future are invited to meet on the Hollywood grounds every fourth Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to noon.
The 4.75 acre cemetery is located between West Turret Street, Simmons Drive, West Curtis Street and Mill Street in District 4 of the City of Orange.
Those seeking additional assistance with maintaining the Hollywood Cemetery grounds can contact the Texas Historical Commission’s Cemetery Preservation Program at 512-463-5853.
– Written by Shari Hardin