ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) – Soon Krumkill Road Cemetery will be blanketed in snow, but the last cleanup of the season for its volunteers is bittersweet.
Since 2019, a small cleaning crew has volunteered their time to clean the tombstones, the landscape and mow the cemetery of the 19th century Evangelical Protestant Church.
“The skunks come in and spread a nice scent on the ground,” said Travis Winkleman. “Early in the morning Albany, ah.”
For Winkleman and Mike Smith, another resident of the Capital Region, it is a labor of love.
“It’s one of my favorite places,” Smith said. “But when it’s all done and everything’s cut out, it’s a beautiful place.”
When News10’s Stephanie Rivas asked Winkleman how much money he had invested in the project, he broke down.
“You don’t even want to go there,” Winkleman said. “I don’t like driving in traffic jams, but you have to. “
He goes to the cemetery for almost an hour every few weeks and he said he spent over $ 10,000 on the project.
When he bought a Jeep to haul his trailer and the newly renovated mower, he began doing other jobs for his community – mowing the lawns of elderly neighbors and others in need.
“I’m a single mom. So he was helping me with some things around the house,” Kate LaFond, resident of Saratoga Springs.
As a single mom, Kate Lafond said she was lucky to have Travis’ help. However, last month after leaving his home, Travis’ Jeep caught fire, leaving him with another expense.
“He does it completely without waiting and believes it’s the right thing for people to do,” LaFond said.
LaFond launched a Gofundme to help Travis, but he said helping people wasn’t about the money.
Travis and Mike hadn’t planned on coming the same day to say goodbye until Winter, but there they were shaking hands like old friends.
“This will be my last day. I’m just rolling down this hill and the other side, ”Smith said.
While Travis wants the City of Albany to step in to help this abandoned private cemetery, he won’t give up until they step in.
Mayor Kathy Sheehan’s office returned to News10 ABC and said “if there were to be any code violations they would name the cemetery owner.”
Smith, on the other hand, doesn’t expect the city to take over the cleanup, and that suits him. He said he would be back to plant a new flower bed on his hill this spring in Albany.