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Everyone has their favorite hobby, and Andrew Lumish’s happens to be cleaning tombstones. To each their own, right?
Lumish travels around to local cemeteries near his home in Florida and works to restore history, one scrape at a time. Before he gets to work on these grave markers, they are filthy—covered in moss and accumulated dirt and grime. In Lumish’s mind, letting these headstones go on looking terrible is a tragedy. Cleaning them up is his way of preserving the memory of those who’ve passed.
“We tell these stories because they’re stories that need to be told,” Lumish said in a video for In The Know. “We don’t want history to be forgotten.”
He especially likes to clean the gravestones of veterans, making sure their service does not get forgotten by people visiting the cemetery.
“They were forgotten. I couldn’t properly thank them. I couldn’t properly understand who they were or what they were about,” Lumish told CBS News of the fallen veterans. “If you properly restore the monuments, you can begin an entire conversation, and potentially—in a figurative sense—bring that person back to life.”
Due to his efforts, Lumish has become known as “The Good Cemeterian.” He and a fellow history lover-turned-cleaning partner, Jen, created the The Good Cemeterian Facebook page so you can keep up with their work.
See what one tombstone looked like before Lumish worked his magic:
And after a little elbow grease:
OK, maybe a lot of elbow grease!
You can donate to Lumish’s nonprofit charity organization to ensure he and Jen are able to keep up the good work. According to its Facebook page, the nonprofit is striving to “preserve and honor the past through inspiration and education.” So, in that vein, the pair also shared their cleaning technique so others could get involved in preserving tombstones in their area.
They advise: “Remember first and foremost to obtain permission to restore ANY monument (tombstone) that is not a direct family member.”
If you’ve gotten permission, the key to getting the grime off of a gravestone is a safe and gentle solution called D/2 Biological Solution. You can find the cleaning product on Amazon for $54.49 a gallon.
This, along with a toothbrush (not one with hard bristles!) will help make a tombstone look good as new.
If you’re feeling inspired, check out the full list of cleaning instructions on the “About” page at The Good Cemeterian’s Facebook page, or donate to The Good Cemeterian’s cause through PayPal.