IMMOKALEE, Fla. - Veterans' graves abandoned and neglected at a Collier County cemetery. It was a story you saw first on WINK News a few weeks ago. A Naples VFW Post has since started to restore the site. And on Monday members held a ceremony there to pay tribute to the fallen.
"To get their graves, um like plant them and to just do the pray and salute." 7-year old Steven Schindller came to Lake Trafford Memorial Garden to pay tribute to our veterans. "The people that honor our state and fight for our freedom."
"As a young kid he needs to grow up and understand why we have memorial day or why we have veterans day" said Steven Smith, who is Schindller's grandfather. Smith served in the Army from 1977 to 2001. He is now the commander of the VFWGolden Gate Post 7721.
"And as commander I make sure our veterans are taken care of 100%" said Smith.
But for the veterans buried here that wasn't the case. "We're gonna put some more pressure on these guys to find out whether it was the funeral home or the VA that dropped the ball on these head markers."
Ed Messer is the commander ofVFWPost 7369 in downtown Naples. They're also known as the cemetary detail.
"We cleaned up and addressed all the graves, we've recorded what we have.""We've cleaned up the grave stones,I would say no less than 20 we had to raise up because they were believe ground level."
That's why it was important for Messer to hold their tribute here to make sure his comrades are no longer overlooked.
The cemetery detail has been hard at work, they continue to find unmarked graves. On Sunday, Messer said they dug up 2.
He's hoping to have the grave site completely restored by Veterans Day.