You’ve all probably heard of the ‘Good Samaritan’. If you are like me you’ve even had good fortune and experienced the help of a ‘Good Samaritan’. Good Samaritans are people who often assist in the distress of others.
As I was traveling from Tampa Bay to Miami, Florida one afternoon, I pulled my car off to the side of the road. I knew right away I had a flat tire. Within 5 minutes, two ‘Good Samaritans’ stopped to help me with my flat tire and I was back on my way home within a few minutes. What a blessing that was.
As I said, we’ve all heard of similar incidents like that where a ‘Good Samaritan’ assisted in a time of need, but I bet you haven’t heard of the ‘Good Cemeterian’?
Andrew Lumish, 46, owns a Chem-Dry carpeting and upholstry cleaning franchise; he’s also a history buff. He spends his days off cleaning, but what he cleans is a little different on Sunday, than upholstry and carpet. You see, Lumish cleans the headstones of veterans on his days off. Lumish has been doing this for 4-5 years now. In his first three years, Lumish cleaned over 300 headstones of veterans in cemeteries around Tampa, Florida. Lumish is known as the ‘Good Cemeterian’.
H/T Tampa Bay Times:
A few years ago, Lumish, 45, of Land O’Lakes, whose other hobby is photography, carried a camera into the Oaklawn Cemetery, an aged Tampa burial ground.
“It was beautiful,” he said.
He shot photos of historic graves. He sought more cemeteries because they are “gorgeous,” he said, and because he loves history.
He discovered that the bodies buried beneath a lot of the headstones he saw belonged to military veterans.
But “something bothered me,” he said. “Their final resting places were total disasters.”
The granite, marble and sandstone monuments that marked their graves had been battered by bad weather. Mold, mildew and lichens had grown over them. Some of the headstones had been there for more than a hundred years.
“They’d been neglected from the time they’d been buried,” Lumish said.
Some were partially illegible. But he would read whatever he could on each decayed stone. Lumish, a history buff, would determine in which conflict each soldier may have fought. Lumish said soldiers take risks. They make sacrifices. We know how to honor them while they are living, he said.
“Somebody walks through that door and they’re wearing Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, whatever uniform, say ‘Thank you for your service,’ shake their hand and walk away,” he said.
In the cemeteries that he photographed, he decided how he would honor them after they’ve died: by cleaning the monuments that mark their graves.
He has returned to cemeteries most Sundays, his only day off, ever since and has earned a nickname: the Good Cemeterian.
In the two and a half years since he started, he guesses he has cleaned 300 headstones in three cemeteries in Pasco and Hillsborough counties. Some take five minutes to clean, others take three hours.
“They fought for the freedoms that you and I enjoy today,” Lumish said. “If I know that they did these things for my future, my children’s future, and I see that they’re forgotten, I feel a sense of responsibility to give their family a little bit of light.”
Lumish is not only a Good Samaritan, but he’s the ‘Good Cemeterian’. He volunteers his time to give back to those who gave so much for him, his family and other Americans. He’s spreading his good will across cemeteries around Tampa, Florida.
From Myrtle Hill Cemetary to Garden of Memories and Rest Haven Memorial Park Andrew Lumish has his work cut out for him – cleaning headstones of veterans. But rest assured, if there’s a veteran buried there with a headstone that needs cleaning, Lumish will be there restoring pride to those who not only served our country, but gave their lives defending our freedom.
And from all of us at “Joe For America” – ‘Thank you’ Andrew Lumish – for restoring honor to those who served our country. You are not only a ‘Good Samaritan’ but a ‘Good Cemeterian’. God Bless Our Military! We salute you and honor you on Veterans Day!