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Current, former Marines pitch in to clean up neglected cemetery

By Mahsa Saeidi, Reporter
Published On: Jun 18 2012 10:28:21 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 19 2012 09:57:49 AM CDT
JACKSONVILLE -

A cemetery that is the final resting place for a number of veterans was so overgrown that a group of active and retired U.S. Marines decided it was time to end the neglect.

"To have this happen to those veterans is, to me, unacceptable," said Sergeant Major E. L. Beshimentob Mayfield, who is retired from the U.S.
Marine Corps.

Three weeks ago, Mayfield and his wife passed by the Old Georgetown Cemetery in Jacksonville.  The cemetery is the final resting place of civilians and veterans alike.
Mayfield and his wife were shocked at the sight of the cemetery, which they say resembled a jungle.

"The crosses are down, the vines are all over, you can see the stubble ... we both went like ahhh.  She said this can't stand," said Mayfield.

Mayfield, Co-Founder of MOJJJO, the United States Military Outreach Judo and Jiu Jitsu Organization, spearheaded the clean up of the cemetery.  At first Mayfield worked alone in clearing the thick brush, vines, and grass.  Soon, he got help from young Marines and other veterans.

Retired Master Sergeant Prentis Campbell served in Vietnam.  Currently, Campbell is the Commander of the National Association for Black Veterans.

"We have WWII Veterans, we have WWI Veterans, and we found out today there was a Vietnam Veteran buried here also," Campbell said.

According to Campbell, there was a ceremony at Georgetown Cemetery on Sunday to honor those who served.

Leroy Henry, who was born and raised in Jacksonville, immediately noticed that work had been done on the cemetery.

"You couldn't even see the graves over here," Henry said.

Henry's father and grandmother, both civilians, are buried here.