WATCH: One Brevard Man’s Intuition Leads to Major Cleanup at Shady Oaks Memorial Cemetery
By Alan Zlotorzynski, Senior Editor // March 6, 2019
brevard residents come to rescue of cemetery
ABOVE VIDEO: SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Led by community volunteers Michael Cheek and Bruce Rothchild, Shady Oaks Memorial Cemetery located in Melbourne is being cleaned up after parts of the cemetery fell victim to trash and overgrown shrubs. Cheek and Rothchild, along with Melbourne City Councilman Tim Thomas, spoke to Space Coast Daily’s Alan Zlotorzynski about the project and how it came to be.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Michael Cheek had no idea why he pulled into the parking area next to the JN Tucker Shady Oaks Memorial Cemetery two weeks before Christmas, he just did what his intuition told him to do – and he’s glad he listened.
What Cheek found as he walked around the back of the property horrified him.
The back area of the property was is in total disarray. There are more than 75 plus plots, including at least 20 veterans grave markers littered with trash, and buried by vegetation and brush from several years of neglect.
Established in 1912 by the African American community, and still being used by Buggs Funeral Home, the caretaker of the cemetery passed away several years ago, and prior to his death, couldn’t do the heavy lifting necessary to keep anything other than the front of the cemetery looking respectable.
Cheek employed the help of his best friend Bruce Rothschild, who was equally as upset, especially with the number of veterans who have simply been forgotten in such a small area.
The two men reached out to the community, including speaking to Melbourne City Councilman Tim Thomas who began to rally the community.
With the help of more than 25 Brevard humanitarians, a few local businesses, as well as local ROTC and Boy Scout Troops, they cleanups began and the progress has been remarkable.
The community’s help is still needed as much work remains. There are several ways to contribute.
The next cleanup is Saturday, April 13, and if you cannot attend you can click here to donate through the GoFundMe page set up to cover expenses. You can also visit the Shady Oaks Cemetery Cleanup Facebook Page or call 321-514-9874.
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