Thanking heroes: students clean gravesites of local veterans

MENTOR, Ohio - All Saints School of Saint John Vianney in Wickliffe sent three bus loads of students to scrub and clean the graves of over 600 local heroes Monday.

Students spent the morning at Mentor Municipal Cemetary with members of the VFW Post 9295, George E. Hayward learning about sacrifice and service from veterans who served side by side with the fallen heroes.

"He graduated with me in 1967 we were in homeroom together," said Post commander Dave Niepokny of Mr. Hayward. "We were both in Vietnam together at the same time. He didn't make it back but we honor him take care of his gravesite."

Grave by grave, students learned what it means to be free. Scrubbing the graves was a constant reminder of what it takes to earn the freedoms that many take for granted.

"You just get a lot of time to think about how young these people were and how brave they were to come out and serve for their country," said student Alexa Hayward.

Many students say they want to come back and perform this service for veterans again next year.