ETX cemetery removes benches, other items from gravesites - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

ETX cemetery removes benches, other items from gravesites

Benches on the ground under a pavillion in front of Whitehouse Cemetery. Removed and placed there by cemetery staff. (Source: KLTV News Staff) Benches on the ground under a pavillion in front of Whitehouse Cemetery. Removed and placed there by cemetery staff. (Source: KLTV News Staff)
Benches on the ground under a pavillion in front of Whitehouse Cemetery. Removed and placed there by cemetery staff. (Source: KLTV News Staff) Benches on the ground under a pavillion in front of Whitehouse Cemetery. Removed and placed there by cemetery staff. (Source: KLTV News Staff)
WHITEHOUSE, TX (KLTV) -

If you visit a loved one at the Whitehouse Cemetery, you'll find patches in the grass where benches used to rest and the foot of grave sites.

Cemetery staff removed benches and various items, and placed them under a pavilion with a letter saying they were no longer allowed, along with the number for cemetery board member Terry Hanks.

"Just to come out here and see things dismantled and pulled out of the ground it's hard on families," says Jane Gresham, whose parents are buried at the cemetery.”

"I feel violated,” says Kimberly Werner, whose son has been buried at the cemetery since 2011. “This is a very special place for us to come and remember the life of my son, it's all I have left."

This afternoon, Werner and her husband picked up the concrete bench that used to sit at their son's grave.

"It's unacceptable that people have to see their things that they put that are special to their loved ones on their graves tossed away like garbage," says Werner.

Terry Hanks told KLTV that these rules have been in place since 2009. He said they're just now enforcing them because these items we're getting in the way of mowing the lawn.  But, Werner says the concrete bench has been at her son’s grave site for five years and this is the first time it’s been a problem.

Hanks also said that the cemetery's rules have always been posted on the gate and while it does mention items that interfere with mowing, nowhere on the sign does it say benches have to be made out of marble or granite.

"I know that they're trying to do the right thing hopefully for the cemetery and maybe clean it up,” says Gresham. “But, it could have been handled a whole lot differently and I think it would have been easier on these families."

Hanks also said that cemetery staff left notes on items six weeks ago asking people to remove the items themselves but, since many only visit on special days, they say they didn't see the notes.

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