By Kim Ruiz
In November 2014, the Alafia River Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) began a volunteer project to clean all the headstones at Limona Cemetery in Brandon, where approximately 10 percent of the graves belong to veterans. They have devoted over 240 hours of work cleaning, mapping and extensive landscape clean up at the cemetery since then. A spokeswoman for the Limona Cemetery Association said they deeply appreciate the time and work the DAR has put into this community cemetery.
Due to a loss of records and the transfer of tracking systems over time, there are gravesites at Limona Cemetery that are either unmarked or where plots were sold to individuals or families that are still unclaimed. For example, one of the DAR volunteers mentioned to a trustee that her grandparents were buried in Limona Cemetery, but they had no gravestones. One of the Limona Cemetery trustees, Loretta Nowlen from the Limona Village Chapel, said they are attempting to reach out to the community for family members and friends who may have loved ones buried at the cemetery to come forward with deeds or other documentation to assist them with their mapping and updating of their current system. Individuals who can provide any information can contact the church office at 689-8385.
Nowlen said, “The cemetery has benefitted in years past from groups like the Boy and Girl Scouts and other youth groups that come out to participate in their annual community work day to pick up pine cones and debris prior to Memorial Day. American flags are placed by Boy Scouts on Memorial Day and by DAR members on Veterans Day to honor our veterans at Limona Cemetery.”
This year the Alafia River Chapter of DAR has a goal to buy veteran flag holders for all of the over 120 veteran graves at the cemetery and honor the founder’s area of the cemetery with a matching grant program. The national DAR will match whatever the local chapter can raise. The DAR ladies are looking for an individual or company to help with a tax-deductible $2,000 donation in order to apply for the matching grant with the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Anyone interested can contact 661-8397 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.