OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Cemeteries are usually places of quiet meditation. That was not the case Tuesday in Ocean springs. Some Navy Seabees from Gulfport are helping to spruce up the nearly 300-year-old Evergreen Cemetery.
Mother Nature and Father Time have taken a toll on a historic spot. Headstones have to be cleaned up, and broken ones repaired, and new grave moldings have to be cut and put in place.
Remembering and honoring the past is crucial for Ocean Springs Alderman John Gill.
"It's important to the families that are buried here and it's important to the city of Ocean Springs because it's part of our historic heritage," Gill said. "We have plenty of heritage in Ocean Springs and we want to preserve it. And if we don't do something with the cemetery now, the old part will disappears."
Seabee building and repair skills learned during years of military service come in handy for this job, according to Seabee Benjamin O'Connor.
"We're doing concrete work and some wood working, as well as cutting and welding for metal work. So pretty much all the skill sets that we use here is something that are our primary jobs in the Navy," O'Connor explained.
Seabees are known for using their skills and getting their hands in countries across the world, helping other people. When they get a chance to do it right here at home, it does their hearts a world of good.
"It's actually a great honor. I'm very proud to be out here and help out," Seabee Valencia Biggs said. "We do so much in the community, but to come here and do something for the people who have passed that have created the way for us is great."
"As a Seabee, we like to go around helping the community, try and give back, not just in wartime but right around here in our local community," Seabee Cory Merrell said.
When the initial cleanup at the cemetery began earlier this year, an additional 250 empty plots were discovered; 200 of those have been sold. If you're interested in buying a plot at Evergreen, call Ocean Springs City Hall.