CHAMBERS COUNTY, Ala. — Dozens in the Valley came together to voice their frustrations about the lack of upkeep on the grounds of the Resthaven Cemetery.
“This is a business and businesses go bankrupt…but there is a very fine line between bankruptcy and dignity,” says Kelly Meacham.
Meacham met News 3 in front of Resthaven Cemetery Mausoleum Thursday evening. He says the recent heavy rains have caused the roof to cave in and the grounds to mold. Meacham says he’s been monitoring the mausoleum where his father-in-law is buried for quite some time.
“Noticed rain just pouring out of the ceiling on the outside of the mausoleum and we had made contact with one of the trustees that handles the property out here..and got no action from him,” says Meacham.
Thursday, heavy rains started to pour, causing the mausoleum to take yet another beating. Meacham wasn’t alone when it comes to voicing his frustrations with Resthaven. About a dozen others showed up with their concerns. All of them have family members buried at Resthaven. Thursday, their concerns included issues with pre-need agreements.
“My mother, my daddy, I have uhh (cries)…my brother…cries,” says Jerry Carmack.
Jerry Carmack wasn’t the only one to get emotional when talking about the lack of upkeep at the cemetery. His dad earned a silver star for his military efforts. Carmack says there was an issue with plots that have been pre-paid for his family and now his family may have to shell out thousands more. He says the cemetery’s constant changes create another issue.
“Changing so much that we don’t even know who to go see…after we search for who we need to see has changed hands so many times,” says Carmack.
Ray Watson, a veteran, says his mom and dad are also buried at Resthaven. He says there was no issue when his mom died in 2013. He says when his dad, who was also a World War II veteran, died in 2014 Resthaven wasn’t owned by anyone. This means, the pre-payment that was made for his dad’s services were null and void. Watson had to come up with thousands to lay his dad to rest. He even had to sell his dad’s vehicle to cover costs with another funeral home.
“War World Two veteran! Fought for this country for people like this..and that’s the thanks my daddy gets for fighting in a war for his country and his own people..don’t even wanna put him in the ground,” says Ray Watson.
News 3 reached out to the Trustee listed on the front door of the mausoleum. We did not get an answer, but we did get a voicemail.
News 3 hopes to learn what happened to the money that was paid in advance for the families buried at Resthaven and also hope to learn what will happen to the bodies buried in the mausoleum if it eventually caves all the way in.