Cemetery Clean-Up Restores Dignity

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It's better news than anyone was expecting.

The red paint that had until Friday covered the bishop memorial at St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery in Lansing Township-- almost completely washed off.

And clean-up on a $25,000 marble statue? Not impossible, contrary to original thought.

"We'll have to go over the areas 10, 12, 15 times to get the solution out," says Bob Santure of Scrub-a-Home, the company in charge of cleaning the cemetery. In nearly 25 years of statue cleaning, he says he's never had a job like this.

"As far as difficulty goes, out of 1 to 10, this is about a 12," he says. "It's difficult to get out especially with marble."

One or more vandals ravaged the holy space in late June. The damage was so widespread and shocking that staff assumed little if anything could fix it.

"When I first saw the damage last week, i couldn't imagine what could be done other than replacement to take care of this problem," says Lansing Catholic Diocese director of communications Michael Diebold. "I'm cautiously optimistic they'll do a good job."

Because of the delicate nature of both the stone and the design, crews have to use tools like toothbrushes to make sure they don't cause further damage.

And the immense heat in past days has caused the paint to really set in. Snture adds red is the most difficult color to remove. But with any luck, respect can be restored to local families as the clean-up effort continues.

Santure has updated News 10 that all but one headstone have been restored and cleaned.

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