TCPalm: Gomez Cemetery cleanup project is a huge success
By Pat Austin, for TCPalm
HOBE SOUND — With 87,500 pounds of vegetative waste cleared and 250 cubic yards of debris hauled from the site, the March 11 Gomez Cemetery cleanup project in Hobe Sound, supported by Keep Martin Beautiful, was an amazing success.
The cemetery is a unique historical heritage site, where African-American members of the Allen Temple A.M.E. Church were buried during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After the church burned down in the 1980s, the cemetery was neglected. It eventually became overgrown with brush and vegetation, and some of the grave markers were eroded.
Working with Keep Martin Beautiful, Hobe Sound resident Capt. Lloyd Jones, along with members of the New Allen Temple A.M.E. Church based in Tampa and local community members began to clean up the cemetery and restore it to dignity.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the results of the day,” said Jones, whose father, a Korean War veteran, is buried in the cemetery. “We are fulfilling our duty to those who went before us and once again giving them a fitting place to rest.”
More than 200 Keep Martin Beautiful volunteers converged on the site on cleanup day, including two buses of volunteers from the A.M.E. Church in Tampa. Hobe Sound businesses Jenkins Landscape, Capps Roofing, and Tony’s Tree Service hauled away the vegetation and debris as fast as the volunteers could gather and load it in trucks.
“We couldn’t have done it without them,” said Jones. ”They offered their equipment, staff and personal involvement, all at no cost, to help us clean the site and prepare it for the next phase of restoration.”
In the next phases, Bowman Consulting and Creech Engineering have volunteered to do a sonar exam of the area to determine where there are graves that are not marked at the surface level. Sod and irrigation pipes will be laid, and a fence will be erected around the cemetery boundaries. The long-range plans call for grave markers to be repaired and restored.
“Those buried in the Gomez Cemetery are members of some of the founding families of Hobe Sound,” Jones said. “At last we are honoring them in the way they deserve and passing on their stories to the next generations.”
About Keep Martin Beautiful
Keep Martin Beautiful (KMB) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community organization founded in 1994 as an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. Its mission is to preserve and enhance the quality of life in Martin County through litter prevention, the promotion of recycling, improvement of solid waste management practices, and beautification and community revitalization activities.
KMB's signature events and programs include the Environmental Stewardship Awards, the International Coastal Cleanup, the Great American Cleanup, the Adopt-A-Road and Adopt-A-Street programs, and other educational and outreach activities. Find KMB on Facebook at facebook.com/KeepMartinBeautiful, follow KMB on Twitter at twitter.com/KMBmartin, visit KeepMartinBeautiful.org or call 772-781-1222.