A U.S. Army and National Guard veteran is restoring the neglected headstones of American soldiers.
As reported by Bay News 9, 63-year-old Ron Knudsen began his project in Pinellas County, Florida, after watching a YouTube video over a year ago.
The video, titled WWII Airman Killed In Action Over Germany 1944 Gets Clean Veteran Headstone by Memorial Day 2021, instructed viewers on how to properly clean and restore the stones.
Inspired, Knudsen got to work in cemeteries throughout his hometown. And what started as a part-time hobby has turned into a full-time passion.
“I enjoy working in the cemetery,” he told News 9. “It’s quiet and peaceful and there’s history here, a lot of history here.”
The Veteran was shocked when he realized how many headstones were uncared for. So he’s made it his mission to ensure that no soldiers are left forgotten.
“I’ll be working on one tombstone and then I’ll hit something next to it and it’ll be another veteran buried there and it’s so buried you can’t see it,” Knudsen shared. “And to me, it’s like a forgotten individual. We need to bring them back.”
The veteran works as a part-time maintenance technician. And he uses his earnings to purchase all of the cleaning supplies for his project. Knudsen also buys small American flags for each gravesite. And while he admits that his efforts are costly, he knows it’s worth it.
“To me, in a small way this is kind of me giving back a little bit something,” Knudsen admitted. “I’m not a rich man. I don’t have a lot. This gives me gratification to do this.”
A New Jersey Veteran Has Sent Thousands of Pounds of Homemade Beef Jerky to Troops Overseas
When Marine veteran Jim Ewen was looking for a way to be proactive after his son-in-law was deployed, he started sending care packages to the soldier. And in every shipment, Ewen included some of his homemade jerkies.
But what started as a pastime quickly turned into a full-time endeavor once other troops got a taste of the jerky.
“We started getting emails from not only Tim but other Marines and other soldiers,” Ewen told News 12.
Two years later, Jim Ewen had donated “over 2,000 pounds of homemade beef jerky” that he made in his own kitchen.
So with the newfound popularity, Ewen opened Jim’s Jarhead Jerky. And today, the company is celebrating 11 years of business. His personal recipes are available in select stores and shipped worldwide.
The product has become a staple in care packages throughout the country, and Jim Ewen is now a bit of a legend among troops. As he shared with News 12, soldiers sometimes stop him when they realize he’s the brains behind the Jarhead Jerky operation.
And that show of gratitude is exactly why Ewen continues to run Jim’s Jarhead Jerky today.
“When you know that you’ve made someone’s day a little brighter – that’s good stuff,” he says