The Fairview Cemetery Association needed help. Jimmy Coakley needed a community service project.
If all goes well, an upcoming benefit festival will take care of both.
Coakley, 16, a Marsh Creek resident and Central Mountain High School junior, is organizing the Fairview Fall Festival, scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 13 at the Yarnell Community Center, to raise funds for the Boggs Township cemetery’s upkeep. He also hopes to rebuild a section of the cemetery’s split-rail fence.
His project should more than fulfill the 20 hours of service required for graduation.
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Tammy Coakley said her son plans on fixing two broken posts, replacing several rotted boards and giving everything a fresh coat of paint. But it’s not as if the graveyard as a whole is neglected.
“This is a really well-kept, well-taken-care-of cemetery,” Tammy Coakley said.
The problem for the cemetery association is that it pays $2,000 a year for mowing — and funding is dwindling. Fewer people are buying lots. And not since the early 1990s has a congregration occupied the old church building on the property.
These days, a local retired man mows in the summer.
“He does an excellent job, really keeping it looking nice,” Tammy Coakley said. “But there’s just no money coming in.”
Her son aims to change that.
He has his sights set on raising enough for a year’s worth of mowing, plus about $600 for the fence repairs. Toward that goal, he’s asking for a $7-$8 donation for a supper of hot dogs, sweet corn and homemade pie with ice cream followed by an auction of gift certificates and prizes donated by local businesses.
Already, he’s collected $175 for his project, which also involves organizing the Memorial Day service at the cemetery next year. Forty-five veterans are buried there, including David “Lee” Lucas, a Howard man who was a German prisoner of war in World War II. The Howard Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8269 Pifer-Leathers-Lucas is partly named after him.
Members of the Coakleys’ church, Marsh Creek Brethren in Christ, have agreed to make 19 pies for the supper. Tammy Coakley, who called the support a “blessing,” hopes for more.
“My husband is from Yarnell. That’s home,” she said. “That’s going home for us. We know a lot of people out around here, who hopefully will come out for it.”
Donations can be sent to the Coakley home at 3163 Little Marsh Creek Road, Howard, PA16841. For more information, call 625-2684.
Getting ready for school
Returning to school may be cause for sorrow for some students, but the Marsh Creek Brethren in Christ Church is starting the year on a festive note.
The church’s first “Back 2 School” event Sunday at 417 Summit Hill Road in Curtin Township will start at 10 a.m. with a blessing for children, then move on to a free covered dish brunch, games, activities, prizes and backpacks for all.
“The basic gist of it is it’s a way to encourage students, give them a small gift, just offer encouragement to them as they start the school year,” Pastor Dan Longmore said.
If the turnout exceeds the backpack supply, every student will receive one, even if church members have to make deliveries later.
The public is invited to both “Back 2 School” and a 6 p.m. “family movie night” aimed at teenagers. Anyone planning to attend the daytime event should call 625-3544 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.