HELENA – Every spring, volunteers and board members of the Benton Avenue Cemetery Association gather for a spring cleaning day. This year, that day won’t happen.
Association President Tom Pearson says that’s due in part to late melting of snowpack, but also because support for the group has wavered and he can’t do it alone.
Pearson has been with the group for more than 10 years. It was organized in the late 90’s to rejuvenate the property after it had been left abandoned for three decades.
“(The cemetery) was awful in 1997 when this group got reorganized,” says Pearson.
He says, as always, there is plenty of work to be done.
“We have many lilacs and trees to prune, get rid of the mess, sometimes we do some mowing, we certainly do some weed whipping.”
But there won’t be a spring cleaning day this year.
“When I went before the city and county in April asking for funds for this upcoming year, they asked me about the cleanup and I said I just hadn’t scheduled one yet, because I hadn’t been able to get into the cemetery at the time,” says Pearson.
The late melting isn’t the only problem though. So is manpower. Pearson says the board needs more people to be actively involved.
“We need people who are willing to be officers, willing to be committee members, and I need workers.”
Pearson says he can’t continue on as board president for much more than another year and the board needs new leadership now to continue doing its work into the future.
“We’ll take any amount of time that people can commit. But we do need regular officers who are really ready to attend meetings, be available for consultation and we will take anyone,” says Pearson. “I won’t be able to continue, but I’ll stick around long enough to teach somebody if they’ll just come down.”
Pearson has scheduled a meeting for Tuesday, June 12th at 6:00 p.m. at 9 W. Placer Street (enter through the door under the Northern Lights Yoga Studio sign) for anyone interested in learning more about the Benton Avenue Cemetery Association.
If you’d like more information – you can call Tom Pearson directly at 459-1036.