Man Kneels Before Stranger's Grave, But Not Before They Capture His Unusual Act In Front Of It
FaithTap Staff 5/3/2017
For many of us, Veteran's day and Memorial day are when we spend the most time thanking and thinking about all those who have served our country. Yet, for the rest of the year, even though we are no less grateful for their sacrifices - the show of appreciation is not as intentional or obvious.
We found an exception to this however in a man in Florida, who shows respect for our fallen heroes in the most unusual way...
Andrew Lumish lives in Tampa and has a hobby that most have never heard of - restoring old and ignored tombstones that belong to veterans.
If you've ever walked through a cemetery, then you might be familiar with gravestones that are completely unrecognizable due to their age and natural degradation. When Andrew started noticing that some of these belonged to veterans, he was very saddened.
The grime and dirt that had built up over the ages, for Andrew, seemed to cover up all of the sacrifices made by the fallen vets. He remembers thinking:
"They were filled with moss. They were very dirty ... They were forgotten. I couldn't properly thank them. I couldn't properly understand who they were or what they were about."
Andrew did the most natural thing that comes to a man whose day job is in specialty cleaning - he started scrubbing and cleaning the tombs so that the names and details would become visible again.
He had no prior experience in cleaning tombstones, but with trial and error - Andrew was able to develop a method that would restore the tombstones without harming them.
It is a lot of work since depending on the deterioration, a tombstone can take anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours to clean, or sometimes more. But it is all worth it to Andrew, who feels that:
"If they can't read it at all, they can't celebrate it, they can't honor that person, they can't appreciate that person. Whereas if you properly restore the monuments, you can begin an entire conversation, and potentially -- in a figurative sense -- bring that person back to life."
On any given weekend, you are sure to find Andrew scrubbing away at one of these forgotten veterans' headstones instead of partaking in most Floridians' favorite pastime - hanging out at the beach. To Andrew this does not feel like a sacrifice at all though. In his words:
"This is more fun for me. Hands down. Seven days a week, 365 days a year. If I could do this every day, I would."
Since finding his calling, Andrew has set up a non-profit company aptly named The Good Cemeterian to make sure he gets to every single one of the tombstones that need attention and to share tips on the products and process for anyone else interested in doing the same.
Here is Andrew sharing his passion with some amazing before and after tombstone shots.
The before and after pictures shared on The Good Cemeterian look like miracles were performed, to say the least. Andrew's hobby turned life's calling is such an inspiration and a reminder to take more time to honor those who have served our country!