An effort to restore a local cemetery kicked off Saturday. Northwest Peer Connect started phase one of a project to clean-up graves at Western State Hospital Cemetery in Staunton.
The group hopes to memorialize and restore the depleted cemetery.
Clyde Hoy of VOCAL in Staunton says, "We had this cemetery here and it's broken. It needs to be fixed and it needs repairs."
Frank Blankenship of Mind Freedom International adds, "[Locals] have no idea that this cemetery is back here. They have no idea people were treated in this fashion."
The challenge of restoring the graveyard includes cleaning up and repairing gravestones that were once only sorted by numbers.
Blankenship says, "This is like saying that they had no life. It's very dismissive. They just had numbers and most of the numbers are gone."
Organizers are hoping to bring a welcoming setting to the cemetery, equipped with park benches, a cleaner landscape, and a memorial that will pay tribute to it's residents.