Defenders follow up on flooded graves at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
One month later affected section drying out, repairs to markers underway
SAN ANTONIO – Repairs are being made to a section of Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery where several gravesites were left under water in January.
Visitors to the cemetery told the KSAT Defenders they were upset with the conditions they found while visiting loved ones last month.
Cemetery officials said a combination of heavy rains and the installation of a new irrigation system left Section 1 of the cemetery a swampy mess with several flat grave markers covered in dirty water.
On Tuesday, a follow-up visit by the Defenders' Tim Gerber found the section in much better condition. Even after Sunday's heavy rains the area was mostly dry and it was obvious the cemetery had taken steps to repair the damaged grave makers.
Director Frieda Robinson said grounds crews have created drainage paths for excess water to flow away from the graves. They have also laid new turf and raised several grave markers.
"We've taken those flat markers and raised them back up to grade, realigned them level with the grass, with the turf, and cleaned them," Robinson said. "We're continuing to keep the area cleaned. We're checking it daily."
Robinson said work on the irrigation system is still ongoing but she said the contractor on the project has never been able to pinpoint where the water was coming from.
"Because the contract is not complete, that portion (of the cemetery) has not been officially turned over to us," Robinson said. "We're checking every day to make sure we don't see anything that we can share with them."
A few grave markers in the affected section were still covered in dirt and mud and at least one had water pooled around it but Robinson said those issues would soon be addressed.
The repairs will be completed as part of a preplanned project to raise and realign the white marble markers in other sections of the cemetery that require attention roughly every 10 years.
It's all part of keeping the hallowed grounds in tiptop shape.
"Most projects are usually on a 10 year time frame. That gives Mother Nature a little time for shifting and moving around but then we go back in and try to make sure everything is right and straight again," Robinson said. "Once it's all said and done Fort Sam Houston will be a beautiful place and an honorable place for resting."
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