As a gardener, Jeremy Gretzinger stepped up to help when Graceland Cemetery in Clintonville, Wisconsin, was vandalized in March.
Family-owned business Gretzinger Landscaping and Evergreen in Shawano agreed to help for free, repairing $2,000 worth of damage to the grass, $700 worth of damage to graves, and other minor issues, according to WFRV-TV.
"This is a blessing," Graceland administrator Darrell Hansen remarked of the gesture.
Some Good News amid the Bad
Gretzinger was the first to notice the damage on social media. Graceland holds a special place in his heart because his grandparents are buried there. He emphasized that he simply wanted people to know that there is something positive, in these times when a lot of things are negatively oriented.
He didn't want to be viewed as a "hero," but rather wanted to "address the issues" that had been inflicted on the cemetery and "make the negative go away." He also saw it as an opportunity to inspire others. The landscaper added that he can influence somebody else to do a good deed or something.
Gretzinger expressed his hope that the restored damage to one of the graves will bring some relief to the family of the deceased loved one. In return, he said, he also learned something from the experience. "Whenever you do a good deed or do something good, it makes you feel great."
On Monday, Gretzinger came out to work in the cemetery. One of his sons and his wife assisted him. They filled the tire imprints with fresh earth and planted grass seed, with the grass expected to be fully established by mid-summer.
Hansen claimed that he was able to clean up the mud-strewn grave and repair the bent metal heart. He believes that this may provide the family of the person whose grave was vandalized some closure. He claimed the original, now-fixed metal heart was taken home by the family, and a new one was set beside the grave.
People have been attempting to reward Gretzinger for his nice deed. He stated that he has refused to accept any money and instead requests that people donate to groups combating Crohn's Disease, which his son has been diagnosed with.
Vandalism Still Under Investigation
A car caused severe damage between the hours of 2:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on March 15, Hansen said. Authorities are seeking any information about damage at Graceland Cemetery on South Main Street in Clintonville from the public.
Not only was the landscape harmed, but burial sites and grave ornaments were also affected. Hansen claimed he was at the cemetery for burial service that afternoon and observed nothing unusual.
At 10:30 p.m., a Clintonville officer noticed something peculiar, he said. He was summoned away on another occasion on the same day and did not return to the cemetery. Then on the following morning, a cemetery worker reported the damage.
Those who have any information are urged to contact the Clintonville Police Department at 715-823-3117.