EWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
When Van Tomokiyo saw the tall grass that buried graves at the Ewa Plantation Cemetery, the retired Honolulu firefighter worried about flames. So he and a handful of off-duty firemen cut the grass.
"We reduced the fire load for the area, so incidents of brush fires lessen," he said.
Friday morning, Tomokiyo and about ten good Samaritans armed with weed whackers gave the graveyard a close shave.
It enabled Bobby Garcia to find his grandfather. He couldn't see his headstone when the grass was tall.
"No, I couldn't. It was hard and thick. But I knew he would be back there somewhere," he said.
Members of the Ewa Beach Lions Club said tree branches will be trimmed in addition to cutting the grass.
"These are about eye level so they're kind of dangerous for anyone that wants to visit the cemetery. They could get poked in the eye," Mitchell Tynanes said.
The city owns the cemetery but hasn't maintained it. The Lions Club has tried but needs consistent volunteers on cleanup days.
"We cannot blame the government for stuff in our community that is being neglected," club president Kurt Fevella said. "If it's something that we can do with our own hands and our own sweat, get out there and do it."
He said the club is researching records and archives. It wants to fix damaged grave markers and beautify the grounds.
"It was beautiful. Now hopefully with the help of the community it'll be that way again," Tynanes said.
"This is something I can do," Tomokiyo said.
"They have a lot of people in Ewa Beach that do care and love this graveyard," Fevella said.
The Lions Club cleanup continues Saturday at 8 a.m.
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