Volunteers help clean up vandalized cemetery in Windom

WINDOM, Kan. (KSNW) – McPherson County continues to investigate who damaged dozens of headstones at a cemetery in Windom. Meanwhile, volunteers are showing up to make sure everything is back in its proper place.

About 20 volunteers came to the cemetery with a mission to help.

“It’s just neighbors helping neighbors, you know,” said Von Peterson.

More than 40 headstones were pushed over, some broken in a crime that has baffled the community.

“I can’t understand why anybody would do this to a cemetery. Just I have no idea why anybody would find enjoyment or think it’s fun,” said Castle Township Clerk Joe Hoffman, who lives north of Windom.

Hoffman initially found the damage, and ever since, he’s been hearing from people who want to help.

“Every one of these people called me and volunteered to come out here on their own. I didn’t call or organize anybody,” he said.

Von Peterson owns SMR Memorials in McPherson and volunteered his time to come out and make repairs.

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“You know we’re all in this thing together, and because I know most of the people that are from this area,” said Peterson.

He says the older marble headstones can never be fully restored.

“We can repair them, put them back together so they’ll hold, but to be like new, no, they’ll never be like new,” said Peterson.

Still, with donated equipment and many hands, what could have taken a few weeks of work was done in a few hours.

“It’s a Godsend that everybody showed up and turned out to help,” said Peterson.

“That’s the nice thing about this community. The Little River-Windom community is everybody helps everybody,” said Hoffman.

Peterson said this was personal for several of the volunteers, saying they have family members who are buried here.

If you have any information about the crime, you’re asked to call the McPherson County Sheriff at 620-245-1225. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact McPherson County Crime Stoppers by calling 620-241-1122 or sending a message online or through the P3 app.

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