NEW YORK (WFAN) — One surprising fan has taken the care of NFL icon Vince Lombardi’s grave site into his own hands.
And guess what? He roots for the Jets.
“If not for the devotion of … Gary Martin, Lombardi’s New Jersey burial plot would be over-run with bushes and barely recognizable,” Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press Gazette reported on Thursday.
According to Vandermause, it was Lombardi’s former secretary, Lori Keck, who made the discovery this weekend at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Middletown Township, N.J.
“He’s a remarkable man,” said Keck. “Who else would spend years of their life taking care of the gravesite of somebody they didn’t know, was not a family member, got no recognition and no remuneration, just because he cared and respected Vince Lombardi?”
Before the Parsippany, N.J. native took on the task, Lombardi’s grave was in “total disarray.”
“I was absolutely amazed that no one (had been) taking care of the gravesite,” Keck said. “I don’t want to create any problems here, but I’m very surprised that the family wasn’t doing it. He’s an icon and the Super Bowl trophy is named after him. Somebody ought to be taking care of that gravesite.”
“The grave was in total disarray,” said Martin. “You couldn’t even read his name. It was totally overgrown. It took a lot of work. You can’t believe the work it takes.”
Martin tries to visit the site once a month. Outside of taming the bushes that adorn the NFL legend’s grave, he selectively removes mementos left by visiting fans.
“If there’s anything from any other team I always take it away,” he said. “I just leave the Green Bay Packers stuff laying here. I think that’s what he would want.”
But why, considering the 3-hour round trip drive, would he do it?
“(Lombardi’s) the guy that really brought professional football to the table, and the Super Bowl,” Martin explained. “I think he was a true leader of men, and I have to respect that. I noticed that nobody ever took care of his grave. So I felt like I was obligated to do that for all the joy he gave me.”
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