FARMINGTON — Work on the Red Schoolhouse Cemetery started Friday and continued Saturday as forestry students from Foster Career and Technical Education Center worked Friday and Walmart employees Saturday.

Last fall, Walmart Manager Greg Patterson proposed an idea to clean up and restore the site of the cemetery located behind Walmart on the Red Schoolhouse Road.

The response from store employees, community members and organizations cemented the idea for the spring work.

The eight students who worked Friday were really excited to get started, Rodney Spiller, forestry and agricultural instructor, said. One student, Austin Koehling, was interested and the others joined in, he added.

Clearing the site for the veterans is important, Koehling said.

There are veterans from the American Revolution buried there along with others, Spiller said.


But, it is also a big part of our history around here. One stone revealed a local man died because he was hit by lightening, he said.

It was a complete surprise, Greg Patterson, Walmart manager, said of the students effort. This was not in the plan till Thursday when Patterson got a call that they would be there Friday morning.

Since Walmart employees proposed to cleanup and adopt the cemetery last fall, the project has really been adopted by the community. It is not Walmart, Patterson said.

Walmart employees worked Saturday to clear some of the brush cut by the forestry students. They plan to work again next Saturday and the forestry students are expected back this week to chip the trees, Patterson said.

The store has a program called Volunteerism Always Pays and for each employee who volunteers their time, Walmart gives $250 in their name to the organization for which they volunteer. This time it will go to the American Legion to help with any needs and expenses for the cemetery work, he said.

Representatives from several businesses, Hammond Lumber, Wiles Remembrance Centers, E.L. Vining & Son, along with Charlie Bennett from the American Legion and Town Manager Richard Davis, Glenn Kapiloff and Spiller from Foster Tech and Patterson met Thursday at the cemetery to discuss plans.


Everyone stepped forward to offer to give of their time, expertise and materials, Patterson said.

Hammond will help with a new fence and Wiles is putting in a bench. Pro Service owner Leon Heckbert has offered to purchase a new flagpole, he said.

The students trimmed and cut trees around the rock border of the cemetery opening it up to sunlight.

Some poplars, with a life-span of about 50 years, were taken down. They are hitting their peak and will just deteriorate from here. This will allow other trees more sunlight and nutrition, Spiller said.

Students in the program worked earlier this week at the Whittier Road riverbank erosion site and they have also done some community service work at Hippach Field this year.

The students are also busy preparing for the annual Woodsmen’s Day competition planned for May 21 and 22 in Dixfield, he said.

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