Organization helps renew, honor historic cemeteries

The New Prospect Cemetery in North Fort Myers isn’t really new; it’s been here for generations.

But over the years, the resting place has become overgrown.

“People get transient, there’s less family in town,” said the cemetery’s caretaker, Nadia Stebbins.

To Stebbins, this place is more than just a cemetery. Generations of her family are buried there.

She was surprised when she got a call from Trae Zipperer—a man who told her he wanted to help clean up the property for free.

“So what happens is a cemetery becomes a mess until somebody comes along and says, ‘Hey, let’s clean it up,'” said Zipperer.

And that’s exactly what he is doing using his platform, Honor Your DNA. It’s an initiative to clean up historic cemeteries.

“Every cemetery has to be maintained every week, from the grounds being mowed, trees trimmed, headstones need to be cleaned,” said Zipperer.

That’s all made possible through donations and volunteers.

“When he asked me to help out, I was more than happy to,” said Tim Digennaro, owner of Tim’s Tree Service. “I’m just glad to be a part of it, go ahead and help clean up and make it look a lot nicer around here. It’s been a long time coming.”

Those buried here may not be our ancestors, but they’re someone’s. Stebbin says, this is what they deserve.

“Don’t we want to be remembered when we pass on? I’m sure we do, and it may be in a different way, but this is the way they were remembered in their time,” said Stebbin.

If you would like to help clean up our historic cemeteries, you can go online to Honor Our DNA and donate by clicking here.

MORE: Honor Your DNA website

Reporter:Nicole Lauren
Writer:Briana Harvath
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