A Good Samaritan has dedicated most of his time cleaning up and revitalizing several of San Antonio’s oldest gravestones in an epic act of kindness.
The man who prefers to be anonymous has claimed to have cleaned 400 gravestones in the San Fernando Cemetery #2 since last May. On why he wants to be unnamed, he says, “I am a good son of the church, so I want this to be for the greater glory of God,” said the man. “When I am doing this, I also want this to be about the people and their stories. I have no special talent for this or anything, it is just something I enjoy doing.”
The gravestones he’s cleaned are as old as a 100-years-old, “It is a very historic, beautiful place,” said the man. “I have a lot of family members buried there. I went to visit some people and noticed some of the stones were in bad shape. Discolored. They had a lot of moss and organic stuff on them.”
Cleaning the gravestones
After researching ways to get them cleaned he got on to the job, “I went online and saw there was this chemical you can use,” the man said. “With a brush and some water and a little bit of time, they come out looking pretty good.”
He says that the biggest success was in cleaning the smallest gravestones. He also was eager to know what the people whose gravestones he cleaned died from. “I was cleaning and I thought, since I am a history teacher, I would do a brief genealogy of who they were, where they came from, and what they passed away from.”
“I learned that some of the illnesses that took people 100, 90, 80 years ago, were easily things we can now get rid of. Tuberculosis was a big one. Pneumonia, bronchitis, and I have also seen an ear infection.”
He says he learned about people who were actresses to police officers. “These were once lives of people who lived many years ago,” the man said. “It is kind of sad when you think about, despite their life experiences and their lives, there is no one there to take care of their graves. Which I think most people would like to have done to their graves when they pass on.”
Beautiful lesson learned
He wants people to show more respect to those who have died. “These places matter,” the man said. “They are not just a blurb of stones. Well, each one was alive and each one has a story to tell. These places are historically significant and important and we need to do our best to preserve them. We have a beautiful cemetery and if we don’t take care of them, eventually, they are going to fall down and be so damaged to the point where you cannot see the person’s name anymore.”
The Good Samaritan also added that this experience made him appreciate life even more. “It reminds me how every day is important and how sometimes our time is limited and that we need to take every day and appreciate every day and every moment,” the man said. “These things kind of need to be done and if it can motivate or show somebody it can be done, then it is all well worth it,” the man said.