Volunteers needed to help clean Hillside Cemetery

Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 4:23 PM PDT
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Since 1875, Hillside Cemetery remains the resting place of Reno's many pioneers...making it the city we know today.

Hillside Cemetery features fee simple plots which are owned by the families buried here and in the past years, the site has suffered neglect and vandalism which is why it needs your help.

Frances Tryon is the president of Hillside Cemetery Preservation Foundation, dedicating her time to protect the site.

"So a lot of these families, some don't have descendants," said Tryon. "Who is going to take care of their family plot? They don't have anyone to do it. So we have volunteers that come in and clean their plots."

Their biggest challenge during this time?

Spreading out large volunteer groups, but the pandemic isn't slowing down their maintenance work.

"We've got businesses that we're able to help us out," Tryon explained. "We were able to reclaim Potter's field, so the graves in there are protected now. Nobody can drive on them or park on them."

For over a year, volunteer Brett Banks has helped with the clean up efforts.

"The work we can do in a whole day makes years of effort," Banks explained. "In one day we can reclaim 3 family plots and that's just a couple hours of your day."

It's a way to pay it forward to her family, who are buried next door at Knights of Pythias cemetery.

"Just seeing how important this was, this cemetery is filled with Reno's pioneers," added Banks. "So I', paying my respects to them and paying my own respects to my own family."

Aside from recovering plots, they're also making grave markers which we're stolen or broken.

"I think our presence within here and the constant reclamation that's happening, people are seeing its not just an abandoned place anymore where they can hang out and vandalize things," said Banks.

With all the work being volunteer base, all they require is a few hours of your time and love.

"All we require is that they put love back into the cemetery," Tryon said. "A lot of the work is pretty much done by hand so hand tools so that it is that act of love to give back to these amazing pioneer families."

To learn more about volunteering, click

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020

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