Jacksonville Beach mailman, Army veteran cleans off headstone of veterans to show respect

Locals taking care of headstones

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Clarence Hollowell was scrubbing the dark grime off headstones at the Old City Cemetery on Veterans Day.

It's hard to make out but you can finally see the name on one of the headstones he was working on.

It reads Robert Anderson, an infantry soldier in the U.S. Army.

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The local mailman started doing this type of work two years ago in his hometown of Wilson, North Carolina, while he was delivering mail near an old cemetery.

"The stones were blackened with age and pollution, so I said, 'there's got to be a way to clean these things and keep the integrity of the stone intact,'" Hollowell said.

Hollowell, who was born into a military family and served three years in the Army, knew breathing new life into these headstones would be one way to give back to other veterans.

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​​​​​​"When a veteran raises his right hand and takes that oath, they write a blank check to the American people, and that check could be cashed at any time," Hollowell said.

So far, he has cleaned over 700 headstones.

Each headstone usually takes three to six months to clean.

"When someone walks by, they can actually stop and see the stone and read it," Hollowell said.

This Army veteran told us he hopes that, with the work he puts in, these military service members who helped protect our country won't ever be forgotten.

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