Volunteers get to work fixing vandalized headstones at Kawaihao Church cemetery

Volunteers get to work fixing vandalized headstones at Kawaihao Church cemetery

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Volunteers have begun fixing the more than two dozen gravestones that were vandalized earlier this month at the Kawaiahao Church cemetery.

Members of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Local 1 of Hawaii started repairing 26 of the 27 damaged headstones on Monday morning.

“After we get it cleaned, we’re going to hoist them up and we’re going to epoxy them down. We were going to pin them, but since some of these headstones are so old and fragile, drilling into them might do more damage than good,” explained Sal Dacquisto, a marble mason.

The pieces vary in weight, from 150 to as heavy as 400 pounds.

“What we’re going to see today is true aloha because this is not easy work," said Brickwood Galuteria, chairman of the Kawaiahao Board of Trustees. "These stone are hundreds of pounds, so they’re going to upright the wrong I guess you could say.”

Kawaiahao Church has extended the hours of its security guard and added a second roving guard to patrol the property from dusk to dawn. The church also plans to test a motion activated LED system to provide lighting in certain parts of the cemetery.

“We’ve learned so much about our own security and safety here at the church,” said Galuteria. “We’re going to plus that up, and we’ve already done so. I think that at this particular time, we’re going to reassess everything with regard to the campus.”

The volunteers from the Bricklayers’ Union will return on Tuesday to grout the epoxy joints, which will wrap up the repair work.

The one remaining damaged headstone will be completely replaced with a new one, in accordance with that family’s wishes.

Several companies donated supplies and money to support the repair effort.

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