Hereford, Texas is one of the great small towns in the Texas Panhandle.
It has a rich history, heck it was once the "town without a toothache," and the Beef Capital of the World.
Many people call Hereford home. And when interesting things happen in this small sleepy town, word travels quick and discussions run deep.
One of those interesting things is a cemetery just outside the city limits. A cemetery where many of my own family members rest in eternal sleep.
There was a period of time where the cemetery was not taken care of, the grass and the graves were overgrown, and the grass was brown and almost dead.
This has all been happening since at least 2017. Eventually, residents and former residents had had enough. This was the resting place of their loved ones, and people started voicing their concerns.
So what happened?
Most of what I know came from talking with family and friends still in Hereford.
In a nutshell, a man by the name of Steve Vredeveld owned the now defunct Hereford Heritage Funeral Home and Restlawn Cemetery. During the time of the ownership, they sold the well on the cemetery property to a landowner adjacent to the cemetery, meaning the cemetery no longer had a way to properly water the grounds.
The Vredervelds closed down the funeral home and left Hereford--essentially abandoning the cemetery. An offer was made, for the funeral home at one point in time and it was not accepted, but it didn't include the cemetery. The Vredervelds did offer the cemetery to St. Anthony's Church and the offer wasn't accepted. So he left the cemetery plot records with another funeral home owner and left Hereford.
At this time, none of the funeral homes have ownership in Restlawn Cemetery, and neither does the City of Hereford.
Luckily, community members and different church groups have been volunteering time for the upkeep of the cemetery. They keep it mowed and groomed the best they can with the resources that are available. The water is still an issue since the cemetery doesn't have a well. The cost of drilling a new well for the site is at least $20,000 and more than likely would be higher because of other things needed.
The main problem is, where would the money come from and who would pay for a well?
At some point in time, either someone will come in and buy the cemetery and bring it back to its previous glory. Or, volunteers will still be around to take care of the upkeep. The worst-case scenario is the cemetery will just go by the wayside and our loved ones will either have to be reinterred in another cemetery, or they will remain in their final resting place with the cemetery in disarray.