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Damage to family plot at Reidsville City Cemetery causes a complaint
City makes a plan to prevent further damage
A city grass cutter closely cuts between the end of a plot and a headstone.
A city grass cutter closely cuts between the end of a plot and a headstone. - photo by Sarah Smith

A Tattnall County resident is complaining to the City of Reidsville for the fourth time in six years regarding damage to her parents’ plot at Reidsville City Cemetery. 

The woman has had issues in the past with damage to this plot, but she had enough last Tuesday, August 23, 2022, when she found the granite coupling surrounding the plot was moved. She also noticed the headstone had been moved an inch from its original placement. 

“This is just disrespectful,” she said. “A lot of people cannot come out here to clean or some, like me, are well up in age. We pay for the upkeep… why is there not a city employee out here making sure there is no damage to the headstones?”

The complainant assumes a lawn mower bumped into the headstone and coupling. She has watched the city grass cutters before, and she has seen these mowers “going wide open” through the cemetery, specifically on Monday, August 29. She understands there are weather conditions which cause damage to grave sites, but she does not believe this is the case. 

Water and Sewer Department Head Rodney DeLoach came to take a look at her parents’ plot, and he later placed the coupling back but left two fair-sized gaps (see photos). While she did not mean to be unappreciative of DeLoach’s effort, the complainant asked if the company who installed the granite, Clark and Shaw Monument of Lyons, could come and repair the damage at the city’s expense. The city verbally agreed to pay for the costs of the repairs, according to the complainant. 

The complainant is not only upset about her parents’ grave sites — but others as well. There are several graves at Reidsville City Cemetery which have tire tracks on them or have loose grass laid on top of them. In regards to the loose grass, DeLoach advised that a work detail group comes in behind the grass cutters to blow the grass off the slabs. 

“There are a lot of graves that are messed up, have been run over, or are completely flat in the ground. Several graves also have tire tracks on them,” the complainant said. “People who do not come out to the graves probably do not know about this. As long as nothing is being done about it, this will only continue to get worse.”

DeLoach admitted, according to the complainant, that he did not have enough time to check on the cemetery as often as the complainant would like. On Tuesday morning, a grass cutter was at the cemetery and was rather close to the coupling and headstones. Another worker was weed-eating around grave sites. 

Mayor Curtis Colwell and Councilwoman Verdie Williams also met with the complainant. Williams said her, DeLoach, and Colwell met with the grass cutters and advised them to be more careful. 

The City of Reidsville has formed a plan to only have one long-time employee operating the Scag. When two graves are close to one another, the grass cutters will get a push lawn mower in those areas. 

“We apologized to the individual and offered to take care of the repair cost. Rodney said it is hard to get someone out there to continue to monitor the lawn mowers. Other than this incident, the cemetery looks good. This is the first complaint we have had that I know of recently. We are so sorry about this, and I am sure the grass cutter would be sorry if he knew he had hit the grave site,” Williams said. 

“It is my hope that this article will lead to some changes and awareness,” the complainant said.