Stories From Main Street: Rockland Boy Restoring Historic Monsey Cemetery As Part Of Eagle Scout Project
MONSEY, NY (WCBS 880) – On a rainy day, an old cemetery in the middle of Monsey seemed forlorned, forgotten, and abandoned.
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For his Eagle Scout project, Brian Negrin adopted this piece of Rockland County history and set out to repair the damage caused by heavy equipment during a construction project next to the New Hope Christian Cemetery.
“When I heard about this and heard that there were veterans buried here and that they just drove their machinery straight through the cemetery destroying everything, I was appalled and I wanted to do something about it,” says Negrin. “The original settlers of this area are buried here.”
“Several rows of tombstones were taken down,” he says. “Some of them [were] just pushed down flat. Some of them broken into six, seven pieces.”
Some of those headstones stood for more than two centuries.
“There are nine war veterans buried here. They were from the Civil War, War of 1812, and the Revolutionary War,” he tells WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.
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Negrin had pulled the weeds and cleared the trash. He’s putting in boxwoods, a flag pole, a patio, and having the headstones repaired. The Lions Club will honor the veterans with bronze plaques.
“I believe that it’s a big part of this town’s history and the fact that they would just destroy it the way they did is appalling. It’s disgusting,” says Negrin. “We’re just trying to make it nicer so that it’s not so disrespectful for the veterans that are buried there.”
Rockland County veterans affairs coordinator Jerry Donnellan said, “Anything that honors our veterans is very much needed.”
“You have to respect these people for what they’ve done. You have to respect your history and know that there is history in this area. There’s history everywhere and you just have to be careful about what you’re doing,” says Negrin.