New Leaf Clients Honor Oklahoma Veterans By Cleaning Headstones
TULSA, Oklahoma -
A Green Country group is building life skills while paying respects to veterans who are no longer with us.
With scrub brushes in hand and American flags on their work vests, a team of four is busy at Tulsa's Rose Hill Cemetery making the headstones of veterans and their families look like new again.
“I enjoy it, every minute of it,” said A New Leaf client Kim Lowe. “I like to scrub them extra clean because it gives me a sense of responsibility for what I do.”
Kim Lowe has been part of A New Leaf for a little more than 2 years. It’s a non-profit that helps enhance life skills of those with those developmental disabilities.
“It's given me survival skills, every day life skills,” she said.
“Our whole goal is a pathway to independence and helping our clients to from where they are to the next level,” A New Leaf marketing director Kevin Harper said.
A New Leaf has now teamed up with another non-profit, Shining Honor Project, which works with care-giving organizations to offer patriotic employment opportunities.
“Being able to honor nation's service men and women has such great meaning to them,” said Shining Honor Project Executive Director Erin Wambold.
The workers use the same cleaning materials used at Arlington National Cemetery. Before and after pictures show the transformation. The pictures also show it’s not just a job for the team, it’s an honor.
“Sometimes I pray for them, I may talk to them for a little bit while I'm cleaning them,” Lowe said. “I had an uncle that was in the military, and to me it's just getting to pay respect back to the war veterans and everybody that's fought in the wars.”
Shining Honor Project has cleaned 5,000 veteran headstones in just over two years.