The tombstone of Ellen Sayles is standing proud and tall in Bay City, but it wasn’t always that way.

Over a century after her burial at Pine Ridge Cemetery, the grave of this woman - who died at the age of 19 - was found broken and buried after years of neglect.

That is, until Ron Graham came into the picture.

He’s been the only groundskeeper on this abandoned site for the past 11 years.

In that time, he’s learned how to restore hundreds of old gravestones on his own.

Which is why he saw to it that Ellen Sayles’ burial plot and headstone were fully restored.

Graham is a member of Friends of Pine Ridge Cemetery, a group of volunteers who take care of the many gravestones on the grounds.

Gerry Schroeder is the president of Friends of Pine Ridge Cemetery and helped turn the group into a locally recognized non-profit.

Schroeder said the work is good and well-meaning, which makes it even better than a regular job.

For those in the group, it’s not just about restoring the burial plots and remembering those who have died but keeping history intact.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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