Washington Woman Cleans Over 600 Soldiers’ Graves in Honor of Memorial Day

by Clayton Edwards

Memorial Day weekend is upon us. This weekend people all across the country are coming together. Some are just happy to be able to see their families face-to-face again. On the other hand, some are keeping the spirit of this holiday in mind as they go about their long weekend.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a little fun this weekend. After all, the weather and timing are pretty much perfect for it. Last year was a nightmare. Many people had to be away from their loved ones. It seems that is slowly becoming a thing of the past. On top of that, the temperatures are starting to warm up across the nation. Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the start of summer. This year, it feels like an awakening to a world that has been hibernating for months.

However, it’s important that we remember why many people have Monday off. It’s not about shopping, grilling, or cracking cold ones. Instead, it is a day to remember those brave veterans who never made it home from whatever war they were fighting. It’s a time to honor their memory and be thankful for their sacrifice.

One Washington woman keeps the spirit of Memorial Day in mind all year. That woman is Kelly Mulvaney. She is the Cleaning Angel of Grand Mound Cemetery of Rochester, Washington.

Recognizing Mulvaney’s Hard Work This Memorial Day Weekend

Mulvaney doesn’t just do the work on Memorial Day. Nor does she do it for recognition. Instead, she does it because she feels it is the right thing to do. Her local PBS affiliate, KGW, ran a story about her last October. During that story, she cleaned stones and talked about her motivation to do so.

Mulvaney’s journey started last year around this time. She started taking her granddaughter on walks through their local cemetery. Then, last Memorial Day, she saw the miniature flags flying over military graves. That is when she noticed that many of those graves were overgrown, covered in moss or mildew, and in a state of general disrepair. She looked at those graves and said to herself, “Those aren’t supposed to look like that.” So, she decided to do something about it.

Devon Haskins, the journalist who covered the story sent out a tweet about Mulvaney after interviewing her.

In that tweet, dated October 8, 2020, he said she had cleaned about 600 headstones. At that time, Mulvaney showed no signs of stopping her upkeep of the cemetery.

In fact, Mulvaney runs a Facebook page called Rochester Cemetery Cleaning Angels. That page is still active. As of May 27, she is still hard at work in Grand Mound Cemetery. Go check out her page for photos of all the great work she is doing.