NewsRegionAnne Arundel County


Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay helps fix church cemetery damaged by flooding

Posted at 5:30 PM, Jun 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 08:28:21-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Crystal Ashby loses count of just how many of her relatives are buried at the Asbury Broadneck United Methodist Church cemetery.

"My mom," she said. "I don't know how many aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles, because it's a family cemetery, mainly a family church. Just about everybody in our family resides her."

But like the rest of her church family, she's seen this cemetery at its worst.

"We've had vaults where you could actually put your foot on the vault and the vault was floating," Kimberly Hickey, another church member said. "There would be trees and brush and heavy debris that would wash on top of grave sites."

She and Randy Rowel have seen the lengths of it too.

It's why the self-proclaimed 'Storm Water Disciples' teamed up with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay for $620,000.

"It shows the bridging the gap between the disconnect amongst diversity and inclusion as it relates to natural resource management, not to mention, there are descendants that are related to Harriet Tubman and other trailblazers that played a part in our history," Rowel said.

"Before it was routinely inundating the graveyard and causing issues. Now, this will become a very rare event. By reducing the likelihood of this ever happening again, you're going to increase the lifespan of this graveyard honestly," Rowel said.

That's a lifespan that at one point was being stripped away.

"There was a lot of work initially clearing some of the brush so we could see what was happening underneath and what was going on," Hickey said.

"The people we love the most rest here, and they weren't taken care of, and we as one person couldn't take care of it, it took the whole community to do this, and it looks beautiful,"Ashby said.