Volunteer labor, along with monetary donations, are being requested and accepted to help make repairs to Cochran Cemetery near Reader, which took a severe beating thanks to a toppled tree caused by the violent June 29 thunderstorm.
A small building located at the front of the cemetery was completely demolished, and at least one monument fell over. Margaret Lancaster, who lives just below the cemetery on state Route 7, west of Reader, states that she first noticed the tree lying across the cemetery on Saturday evening.
Lancaster adds that she has never seen anything like the storm before. She stepped out of her daughter's house the night of the storm and noticed that the sky was a "grayish, pinkish, and reddish spectrum of light." Lancaster says that she heard the crashing and breaking of trees and that limbs were blowing and circling around. Lancaster's husband and son both worked for two days to clear the main road to the cemetery, which was blocked by trees just after the storm.
Dottie Young and Randy Lancaster stand before the large root base of the poplar tree that fell onto Cochran Cemetery during the June 29 derecho. Lancaster is the son of Margaret and Cecil Lancaster, who live just below the cemetery.
Bonnie Brown of the cemetery board is currently accepting donations for the cemetery, which can be sent to P.O. Box 471 Reader, WV 26167. To donate labor to the cause, call Brown at 304-386-4754.
When asked if there are possibly more monuments that were affected the toppled tree, Brown says that she doesn't know, that no one can see the extent of the damage until the tree comes out, "if we can get it out."