125 unmarked gravestones of former veterans finally have headstones at the Old Soldiers’ Ground in the Mansfield (Ohio) Cemetery.
The graves held marines, soldiers, airmen and sailors from many different wars, including the Indian War, Spanish American War, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam.
There have been 23 rows of footers installed by the construction team from Purdy Construction, and they’re working on the last 10 rows to complete 33 rows in this year’s construction.
Ken Estep, executive director of the Richland County Veteran Service Commission, and his administrative assistant, Sue Dell, decided to use general funds to ensure that the project was implemented as scheduled with the approval of Richland County Commissioners.
Dell said she learned about the veterans’ area situation more than 11 years ago when she received a phone call from a granddaughter of a veteran from Virginia who was buried in the Old Soldiers’ Ground without a headstone. The grounds were unkempt and many graves had no headstones.
Dell helped the woman obtain her grandfather’s discharge papers and death certificate, highlighting that he had been awarded the Purple Heart. They were able to get the headstone from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Matt Cassel, who is responsible for cemetery records and genealogy, and Pamela Bautz, superintendent of the Mansfield Cemetery Association, confirmed that no veterans have been relocated.
The foundations have been laid with a depth of three feet beneath medallion, stone and foundation in the garden.
The dedication of these headstones will take place on Memorial Day next year, which is May 20, 2022.