The Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries (OCHC) has awarded a historical cemetery grant to the Rainier Oregon Historical Museum (CROHM) to benefit the Rainier Cemetery District.
Only 12 historic cemetery grants were awarded throughout the State of Oregon, and two of those were awarded for headstone repairs at two Rainier cemeteries. The total grant will be for $5,384 plus $1,454 in matching funds. Sixteen headstones in the Woodbine Cemetery on Larson Road will be repaired and leveled and 21 headstones in the Knights of Pythias Cemetery on Neer City Road will be leveled, reset and glued.
Headstones in both these cemeteries date back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The matching money from donations made by museum members and the collaboration between ROHM and the Rainier Cemetery District working together played a big part in the decision of being awarded this important grant, according to Rainier Oregon Historical Museum President Kay Heflin.
The project is the first collaboration between the Rainier Oregon Historical Museum and the Rainier Cemetery District. Heflin and Judy Lepin, a cemetery district board member, worked together with the help of Brian Garrison, a 2003 Rainier graduate and grant writer, who volunteered his time to help guide them in writing the grant.
Additional funds are needed to repair and level two headstones at the Neer City Cemetery on Neer City Rd. If you would like to make a donation for much-needed repairs in the Rainier Cemetery District, you can send a check to the Rainier Oregon Historical Museum (ROHM), P.O. Box 762, Rainier, OR. 97048. On your check make a note that this is for the Rainier cemetery repair fund.
Lepin said the cemetery district board members were thrilled upon hearing the news that the Rainier Cemetery District was awarded the cemetery grant to repair 37 headstones in two of our 12 cemeteries. This is the ONLY way this kind of work will ever be funded because the district does not have the equipment or manpower to do it otherwise.
While listening to the judges reviewing the 20-plus grant applications received by OCHC it was very clear that the applications showing community support were the ones scoring the highest, Lepin said.
Accordion to Lepin, Rainier Cemetery District could not show any community support on the grant application, other than that from the Rainier Oregon Historical Museum.
“If it hadn’t had their support, both in Kay’s efforts and time, and the ROHM members financial donations, there’s no doubt that the application would not have passed scrutiny of the commissioners that were doing this year’s judging,” Lepin said. “Our district has tried unsuccessfully for two years to get a tax levy passed, that would allow funding for more man hours, so desperately needed by the district to manage, and maintain, the needs of our 12 cemeteries.”
According to Lepin, the support of the museum members has shown that they understand and empathize with the district’s financial needs. She added that the museum membership wants the Rainier Cemetery District to be able to do what’s right for those buried, and their loved ones.
“The Rainier Cemetery District is thankful for those who care about our cemetery district, and understand that 37 acres of gravesites cannot be maintained by one person,” Lepin said. “This is the same person who is also 100% responsible for preparing every new grave for burial, while trying to offer the best environment for a family to experience the death of their loved ones.