By Matt Jaworski
Labor Citizen Writer
A group of union construction members were praised recently for volunteering their time in late May to help prepare one of Cleveland’s oldest cemeteries for Memorial Day.
The volunteers from various trades came together on behalf of the Catholic War Veterans of the United States of America (CWV USA) to clean up and then decorate the graves of deceased military veterans.
According to their website, the CWV and their Auxiliary support active-duty personnel and military chaplains throughout the world, as well as U.S. veterans. Members can often be found attending mass together on Veterans Day, Memorial Day, volunteering at VA hospitals and supporting parish and veterans’ activities throughout the year.
Dick France, National Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service Representative of the CWV USA in Cleveland, said the group helps ready Calvary Cemetery, one of the oldest and largest cemeteries in the city, for
Despite wet and damp weather, the volunteers uncovered grass-covered graves of deceased military members and then placed small U.S. flags on their grave markers.
Calvary Cemetery covers more than 300 acres and contains the gravesites of more than 14,000 veterans. The CWV has been decorating the graves at Calvary for more than 80 years and France, in a prepared statement, said help is often needed.
“Our members are getting older each year and the help is greatly appreciated,” said France, a retired member of Tile Layers Local 36.
The volunteers included current Tile Layers Local 36 Business Agent Matthew Neeson, retired Local 36 Business Agent Daniel Zavagno, Bricklayers Local 5 Financial Recording Secretary Paul Shymske (who retired this month), Pipefitters Local 120 retired member Bob Mlady and Jackie Berry, Office Administrator for Tile Layers Local 36.
France said he has recommended the CWV National Department offer resolutions to recognize the union volunteers for their help. He added that he welcomes more volunteers to assist in the years to come.