A Norwood stone mason has offered to fix broken grave markers for free at a Felts Mills cemetery where vandals struck this week.
For Matt Williams, the owner of North Country Masonry, Potsdam, the connection is professional as well as personal. In September, Mr. Williams was doing upkeep on retaining walls around big family plots at Riverside Cemetery, along the Raquette River.
Man, if youve got to be somewhere, this is a nice place, he recalled thinking to himself.
A month later, his stepdaughter was killed in a car crash. The family got her a plot in Riverside, Mr. Williams said, and amid the tragedy that gave him a certain peace of mind a peace that was rattled by vandals who smashed grave markers, pushed over headstones and poured gasoline on the ground sometime earlier this week at Evergreen Cemetery on County Route 143 in the town of Champion.
Now that my daughters in the ground in a place that you hold sacred, shes not out in the world getting messed with. Shes safe and protected there, he said. Then youve got idiots like this going around destroying and desecrating them?
Mr. Williams was also outraged that the headstones of Revolutionary War veterans may have been among those that were broken. His son, who is in the Army, recently came back from a tour of duty in Iraq, safe and sound, he said.
Im very thankful for that, and very lucky for that, Mr. Williams said.
After reading about the desecration in the paper, Mr. Williams contacted Herbert A. Cross, the groundskeeper at the cemetery, to offer his services.
Mr. Cross said Friday afternoon that they would meet Monday.
He wants to fix them all for nothing, Mr. Cross said. You cant beat that price.