The Cambria Somerset Association of Realtors® helped provide some restoration work to the historic Berkley Hills Cemetery in Johnstown and established a veterans’ memorial at the site.
The Realtors® recently volunteered to clean and restore gravestones in the five-acre cemetery. The association purchased the costly supplies needed to restore the markers in the 154-year-old cemetery.
The association also provided funding to install a veterans memorial in the cemetery, where more than 70 veterans, including some from the Civil War, are buried. CSAR installed a flagpole and added a memorial to recognize those who have served their country.
Funding for the project was made possible by a Century of Service grant from the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors®, along with additional funds from the local association. PAR’s Century of Service grants allow local Realtor® organizations to help make a difference in their communities during the state association’s 100th anniversary.
Local Realtor® Jim Moskal has been spearheading the efforts to maintain the cemetery, which operates with little to no annual budget.
“The cemetery looked like it was abandoned,” Moskal said. “The grass was overgrown and neglected, so I began volunteering to mow the grass. I eventually started a Facebook page to try to raise some funding for the cemetery maintenance.”
His efforts led to an anonymous donation used to purchase needed equipment and it created an increased interest in rejuvenating the resting place for more than 1,000 people.
Moskal also started cleaning historic headstones. “Some of the markers were black before cleaning them with a product made specifically for this purpose,” he added. “It’s a slow process, sometimes taking more than a year, before it returns to looking like new.”
Enlisting his fellow CSAR members, the group held a workday to focus on cleaning more of the stones and creating the memorial area.
“Veterans are near and dear to our hearts,” said Quenna Smith, CSAR president. “We wanted to reach out to volunteer in whatever way we could to preserve such an important part of our community. We’re happy to help one of our fellow Realtors® who has been working diligently to maintain this cemetery and the newly established memorial area will honor the memories of our veterans.”