Restoring Respect to the Dead in Madison Heights - WSET.com - ABC13

Restoring Respect to the Dead in Madison Heights

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Madison Heights, VA - A group of neighbors in Madison Heights says people have been parking their cars, throwing parties, even doing drugs inside a historic cemetery.

Now they're on a mission to keep the Mahone Cemetery preserved.

The cemetery may look small but it has a tremendous amount of history.

One tombstone dates back to the late 1700s. Neighbors want to restore some respect to that life and the hundreds of others that are remembered here.

Mothers, husbands, and babies are all buried at the cemetery.

"These people lived a life," Janice Camden said. "They can't speak up. They're dead."

One baby's tombstone showed she died at only two months old.

"To see these little babies that didn't live to be a year old and to see people driving on them and not caring. Yeah it is, it's very emotional," Camden continued.

Camden said she will do whatever it takes to keep the cemetery from being used as a parking lot.

Camden said one time, one of the graves was so sunken in, someone got stuck in it.

Another tombstone has been knocked off its foundation. Another one has been crumbling from the top down. There are also several soft spots in this cemetery of the dozens of other tombstones that have completely disappeared.

"There's probably 500 people buried here and we've only got 50 tombstones left," Camden continued.

Building a permanent fence is the latest project for a group of concerned neighbors.

"We've been cleaning streets and having meetings monthly," Anne Carlson said.

The concerned group calls themselves the Old Town Madison Heights Action Group.

"People have come together and tried to preserve something for the younger generation that's growing up nowadays," Larry Camden explained.

The group says they are preserving more than just history. They are preserving a sense of respect.

"If your mother, sister, brother, father, child was buried in here, wouldn't that be sacred to you? It is to me," said Janice Camden.

The neighbors here have already raised nearly $700. Most of the money went to pay for a study to figure out where these property lines are.

The next step is raise more money to actually build the fence.

If you would like to help, contact the Old Town Community Action Group.

The address is 419 Main Street, Madison Heights, VA 24572.

You can also call Janice Camden at (434) 846-0489.

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