Community returns to Greenlawn Memorial Park for cookout
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) - The past week was difficult for those with loved ones buried at Greenlawn Memorial Park, but Saturday's cookout brought much-needed joy.
The cemetery was vandalized last weekend, with damages nearing $15,000. After extensive cleanup, members of the community celebrated those who worked to restore the graves.
Thompson Funeral Home general manager Suzanne Elkins knows the venue is a bit unconventional, but that puts recent events into perspective. "I think it's more of a blessing in disguise."
People with loved ones buried at Greenlawn were stunned by the vandalism. Carrie Peay of Columbia came to the grounds last Sunday to visit her husband, John, but discovered decorations missing from his resting place.
"I came out on Sunday, and the flowers were missing," she says. "I said, 'Oh, John Peay, your flowers are gone, baby. Someone needed them more than you."
Maria Carrero and her husband came in to help people like Peay; they brought flowers to replace the ones stolen. It's second nature to Carrero, who cleaned up graves with her parents when she was younger. Her father is also buried at Greenlawn, still inspiring her to help others.
"It's in my blood," she says.