Coast Guardsmen restore veteran’s graves

Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Jennifer Elliott, stationed at Base Support Unit Kodiak, lays flowers next to Sgt. George Raymond McDonald's headstone at the Kodiak City Cemetery Sept. 16, 2011.

Coast Guardsmen with Base Support Unit Kodiak continued an ongoing beautification project at the Kodiak City cemetery for military veterans Friday.

The Coast Guardsmen began this project in June in an effort to restore veteran’s graves to their original condition. Several sites were overgrown with weeds and moss and their headstones and crosses were in need of repair.

Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Jennifer Elliott started a Flags Across America chapter on Kodiak Island and in the midst of gathering data to identify veteran’s graves during the beautification project, she came across the shattered headstone belonging to Sgt. George Raymond McDonald, U.S. Army WWI veteran.  McDonald was born in 1890 and died in 1978.

After Elliott spoke to the Kodiak Parks and Recreation manager, Ian Fulp, she discovered the grave was run over by vandals in 2009. Through coordination efforts with the Department of Veterans Affairs she was able to replace the headstone.

“I felt Mr. McDonald deserved to have his grave marker replaced and couldn’t let the matter go until it was fixed,” said Elliott.

During the dedication ceremony, the Coast Guard Base Kodiak chaplain said a prayer and Elliott placed flowers next to the headstone.

For more information about the beautification project, click here.  To learn about the Flags Across America project, click here.