A North Augusta Church is reaching out to the public for help.
Hammond Grove Baptist Church is trying to come up with the funds to fix their cemetery after a tree uprooted, exposing vaults and smashing headstones.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, a large pine tree uprooted and crushed a portion of the cemetery last year.
Pastor Bobby Hankerson says it happens after a large storm when the ground is wet and the wind is heavy.
There are dozens of trees surrounding the graves and he worries that anytime a storm comes through the area, another tree will come crashing down.
Hammond Grove Cemetery is the permanent resting place for more than 400 people. It’s where several World War 1 and World War 2 veterans are buried.
This large piece of land has been a challenge for this small congregation to keep up.
“It hurts my heart to know that we have so many veterans buried out here that have been forgotten, I have loved ones that are buried out here,” Church member, Rosa Thomas said.
The overgrown weeds and headstones with no names are the least of Pastor Bobby Hankerson’s worries.
“We have these gigantic trees, a couple hundred feet or more, tall trees, and the ground is soft and doesn’t take much for them to fall and that’s what we have here,” he explained.
A massive Oak tree was completely uprooted and turned over crushing tombstones and exposing vaults.
“It seems like it’s just one problem after another and… there is so many of them the cemetery is 147 years old so these trees are older than that,” Pastor Hankerson explained.
The force was so intense, the tree’s roots took up pieces of cement with it and left pieces of marble scattered throughout the ground.
Church member, Rosa Thomas says it’s emotional for her to watch this cemetery disintegrate right in front of her eyes.
“The grave is everything to family members who have loved ones buried out here, it needs to be, it is the final resting place for our loved one, and we want it to be in the best condition it can be for them,” Thomas said.
Thomas and Hankerson are hoping someone will find it in their heart to help their congregation. They hope to give the people laid to rest at Hammond Grove Cemetery a peaceful ending.
If you’re interested in reaching out to the church or donating you can send it to 214 West Five Notch Road, North Augusta, SC 29841.