PITTSTOWN, NJ (Hunterdon County) – Hunterdon County Board Commissioner, Susan J. Soloway, hosted a Veterans Headstone Cleaning event this past Saturday, at the Bethlehem Presbyterian Church, located at 2 Race Street, in Pittstown.
“It was a picture-perfect weather day for the numerous volunteers that showed up for a great cause,” officials said.
Hunterdon County first began cleaning veteran headstones in 2021, following a visit from Trae Zipperer, Navy Veteran and founder of the non-profit group, ‘By Memorial Day’, an organization with a focused goal to clean and care for every Veteran headstone across the county.
Commissioner Soloway, who also serves as the Veterans Affairs co-liaison for the Board, said, “We had approximately 30 participants on Saturday, and everyone there wanted to honor those who served our nation by participating in the event. All the volunteers received instructions for the proper protocol on headstone cleaning and were directed to clean the gravesites marked with an America flag. Many of the volunteers are repeat attendees, who have assisted with headstone cleaning events hosted by the County in the past. It was a great day and a wonderful way for all of us to honor those who served the nation at their final resting place.”
“Hunterdon is the first County to date to organize a community headstone cleaning event for veterans. The hope is we can be a catalyst for other counties to make headstone cleaning a recurring calendar event, as our way of saying ‘thank you’ to our veterans,” Soloway said.
Hunterdon County Veterans Service Officer, Rich Booth said, “Watching the headstone cleaning process, where the stone returns to its original color after being covered in algae for many years, is rewarding. A clean headstone reveals the name of a person and the dates of their lifespan. It is impossible not to imagine a life story connected to that stone, and it is this thought that changes the perspective of what we are doing. From that moment on it becomes an obligation as an American to take better care of these headstones.”