Tampa Rough Riders help clean up cemetery - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa Rough Riders help clean up cemetery

Posted: Updated:
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Near the front of Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Tampa stood a flagpole and a group of fading and cracked monuments.

The headstones around the monuments were twisted, covered with mildew and overgrown with grass. Tampa resident Kendall Stahl was doing the best he could to maintain the graves but he needed help. The graves are of veterans of the Spanish American War.

Stahl wrote to the President of the Rough Riders in Tampa, asking if his organization could do anything to improve the situation of the cemetery.

For the purposes of full disclosure, this reporter is also the President of that organization.

The 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment "Rough Riders" Inc. was formed in 1978 to honor the memory of Teddy Roosevelt and the original Rough Riders who fought in the Spanish American War.

Stahl thought the club would be the best group to help maintain the markers and monuments at Myrtle Hill.

"When I first contacted you, uh the Rough Riders, the stones were all below ground, they were all sideways and overgrown with grass and it was actually in pretty poor condition," Stahl said.

Stahl's great aunt, 97-year-old Ettamae Johnson Brown is the daughter of one of the Spanish American War veterans buried at the cemetery. She still recalls meetings of the Spanish American War Veterans Women's Auxiliary on the grounds of what is now the University of Tampa.

"They met, I believe once a month and they had a large group of ladies," Brown said. "The ladies too took care of that cemetery."

Since the Women's Auxiliary is no longer around, the modern Rough Riders quickly volunteered to help.

The base of the flagpole was cracked, a large piece of concrete was missing from the base. A lighting strike may have blown the chunk of concrete off. George Conlan, a Rough Rider with construction expertise patched the concrete.

Brass markers on the memorial were removed, stripped down and hand painted to bring them back to their original condition.

"Well it's important because we want to remember these guys who fought for our country and gave, some of them gave their lives for our country, but these guys need to be remembered," said Rough Rider John Werner.

The general manager of Myrtle Hill also had his maintenance staff assist the club. They removed overgrown shrubbery, straightened and leveled the headstones and removed old grass and replanted the area with fresh sod.

Rough Riders cleaned each headstone and carefully repainted the monuments to their original color.

Kendahl Stahl couldn't get over the difference, "To be honest, it's the difference between night and day."

His great aunt Ettamae Johnson Brown, was beaming with pride.

"You know when we stop to think, all these veterans that we have from over there, they're very important what they contributed to this country," she said.

She added the work will keep the veterans from being forgotten.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:59 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:59:58 GMT
    This Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in PinellasThis Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in Pinellas
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
  • RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:45:14 GMT
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
  • How thieves clone your credit cards

    How thieves clone your credit cards

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-07-22 13:15:02 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    Patricia Stack didn't know her debit card number had been stolen until she tried to withdraw money from her bank account. "A couple weeks ago I tried to get money out to pay my power bill and there was nothing in it."
    Patricia Stack didn't know her debit card number had been stolen until she tried to withdraw money from her bank account. "A couple weeks ago I tried to get money out to pay my power bill and there was nothing in it."
  • NewsMore>>

  • Stunning twist in Tampa baby throwing trial

    Mother to take stand in Tampa baby throwing trial

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:15 AM EDT2014-07-24 08:15:39 GMT
    Jasmine Bedwell, the woman who caused a mistrial in the Richard McTear case last year, testifies Wednesday.
    Jasmine Bedwell, the woman who caused a mistrial in the Richard McTear case last year, testifies Wednesday.
  • Lakeland residents not happy with answers about coyotes

    Lakeland residents not happy with answers about coyotes

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:00 AM EDT2014-07-24 08:00:36 GMT
    About 75 people gathered at Lakeland City Hall Wednesday night and many of them weren’t happy with what they heard about coyotes that have been mutilating and killing cats in Lakeland’s Lake Hollingsworth neighborhood.
    About 75 people gathered at Lakeland City Hall Wednesday night and many of them weren’t happy with what they heard about coyotes that have been mutilating and killing cats in Lakeland’s Lake Hollingsworth neighborhood.
  • Car loses control injuring 3 at Dunedin shopping center

    Car loses control injuring 3 at Dunedin shopping center

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:37 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:37:40 GMT
    An out of control car injured three people at a Dunedin shopping center on Wednesday afternoon. The shopping center is located at the intersection of Curlew Road and Bayshore Boulevard.
    An out of control car injured three people at a Dunedin shopping center on Wednesday afternoon. The shopping center is located at the intersection of Curlew Road and Bayshore Boulevard.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 'Extraordinary' little boy finishes triathlon with his disabled brother

    'Extraordinary' little boy finishes triathlon with his disabled brother

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:52 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:52:34 GMT
    (Photo: Courtesy Today.com via Aldrich Family)(Photo: Courtesy Today.com via Aldrich Family)
    Never underestimate the power of brotherly love. Eight-year-old Noah Aldrich didn’t want his 6-year-old sibling Lucas — who is confined to a wheelchair — to miss out on a youth triathlon this month.
    Never underestimate the power of brotherly love. Eight-year-old Noah Aldrich didn’t want his 6-year-old sibling Lucas — who is confined to a wheelchair — to miss out on a youth triathlon this month.
  • 'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    Monday, July 21 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-21 22:37:35 GMT
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:08 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:08:35 GMT
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.