BUTLER TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WDTN) – 2 NEWS Investigates is getting results to honor a local veteran after a family’s calls of concern seemed to go unanswered by a Dayton area cemetery.
There are 51,000 people buried at Dayton Memorial Park Cemetery, 35,000 flat markers, and the winter has not been kind. Some of the markers are covered in grass making it impossible to read the names of those they represent.
The marker of Korean War Veteran Bronson Walters looked much like those, that is until a family visiting the grave sites of their own relatives got involved.
Mary Alice Tankersley told 2 NEWS Investigates, “My husband was a veteran, a very proud navy veteran and he would be so upset to know this young man had been forgotten, and we couldn’t see the man’s age because we couldn’t see the date on the marker.”
Tankersley says her great granddaughter actually fell into the hole created by the sunken marker of Walters. That’s when the family started calling Dayton Memorial Park Cemetery, a not-for-profit cemetery.
“Luckily my great granddaughter wasn’t hurt, but when we went back out there this weekend there had been nothing done,” said Tankersley.
The cemetery’s general manager said she didn’t know about all the calls and her staff was looking for an actual hole not a sunken marker, so that delayed repairing the site. Once 2 NEWS Investigates got a hold of Pam Sunderland the marker was raised in about an hour.
“I don’t think we dropped the ball. I’m sorry we didn’t get to it sooner,” said Sunderland.
Sunderland admits the staff can’t possibly keep up with the markers that get buried over time. “Who do you give priority to is the question. We just have a continuous list and we just try to keep working that list down. It’s has gotten to be a large list,” Sunderland told 2 NEWS Investigates. Sunderland says they are in the process of hiring two college students to help with raising markers this summer.
The cemetery encourages you to call 937-890-1831 if you see something there that bothers you and ask for the general manager. Tankersley said her family will keep an eye on Walters’s marker as well as their own relatives’ sites.