By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — Forest Hill Cemetery in East Derry looks pretty good for its age.
That’s the word coming from the core group of cemetery volunteers working to help the town maintain the burial ground and its many historic stones.
Some graves date back to pre-Revolutionary War times and many are in need of some care and repairs.
The Friends of Forest Hill Cemetery are still taking on projects to help keep the stones upright and strong.
“The cemetery is in pretty good shape,” volunteer TJ Cullinane told members of the Heritage Commission last week.
Cullinane is leading the charge to round up volunteers to take on Forest Hill projects following the death of longtime cemetery supporter and Friends of Forest Hill founder Dorothy Goldman in May.
Goldman put a lot of effort into the 35-acre cemetery over the years, including lining up volunteers to clean stones, and getting organizations and groups on board to “adopt a stone” to care for some of the older markers.
Since her death, volunteers are still ready to help Forest Hill.
There is some storm damage that needs to be cleared away, Cullinane said, along with several older stones that need cleaning.
He said he would like to see more workshops on gravestone cleaning for newer volunteers hoping to get involved.
Without Goldman at the helm, it’s not quite the same. Cullinane said he misses her drive and spirit.
“She presided over the cleaning of well over 250 headstones and the straightening of 70 more,” he said. “Best of all, she left in place a committed band of volunteers.”
Those volunteers range from local Boy and Girl Scouts, to garden club members, school groups and youth needing community service hours.
“There are more than a few Eagle Scouts in the local community who achieved this lofty status by working under Dorothy’s guidance and tutelage at Forest Hill,” Cullinane said. “She was in a class all her own and was an unabashed patriot and one of the last adherents of Americanism.”
Cullinane hopes to get more people involved in maintaining Forest Hill Cemetery. To learn more, visit forest-hill-1721.webs.com.