A Rich History of Care
In 1748, just before this great country was founded, a baby girl was born by the name of Bathsheba Herring. Two generations later, this woman would become the grandmother of a man who would become the 16th President of the United States. Named after Bathsheba’s husband, Mr. Abraham Lincon has since been called the greatest man to ever serve this country. Today, Mrs. Herring Lincoln is buried at one of the preserved national cemeteries of Fort Knox. It is our great duty, honor, and privilege to maintain that grave, and many like it, as The Ginn Group team.
The site itself is home to many family cemeteries which were annexed by the city of Fort Knox once the military reservation was created. Every spring, by March 15th, The Ginn Group team begins their annual maintenance on the gravesites, clearing back weeds and restoring old stones to former glory so that they will be ready for Memorial Day. Yet, the process is more intricate than people imagine.
“We do everything from cutting the grass, to leveling the headstones, to cleaning the headstones – we do it all,” project manager, Hamlette Braxton, tells us. “We have a three-step tier where they go in there, they fertilize it, they clip it, then fertilize it again; just to keep the pH levels balanced within the grass at the Main Post cemetery!”
The old land, with its historic markers, takes a special skill to preserve. Project supervisor, Aubrey Rains, says “Everything is considered a shrine.” due to its age. “We’re not allowed to use a lot of modern materials…If you go in and you’ve got grass that’s two feet above a small marker, it’s very arduous to get around each stone…It takes a lot of time to preserve those headstones and not damage them. So you gotta be skilled…with all kinds of machinery to go out and do it.”
This on-going process consists of four individuals working constantly for about three months. Each of them takes tremendous pride in their work, going above and beyond what is required. It is because of this continued labor of love that Fort Knox has been honored as a national cemetery.
“About two years ago, people from Arlington came down and recognized it,” Braxton said, “and it’s thanks to him and his guys,” he adds as he motions to Rains. Both of the gentlemen agreed that, of the 100 plus cemeteries, including the Main Post Cemetery, spread out over the 110,000 acres of Fort Knox, 95% of the maintenance is performed by The Ginn Group.
“I actually, just a week ago, I spoke to a retired general officer,” Rains says, “He was a two-star. And he was in tears at the work that we have put in his wife’s site here at the main post cemetery…he was in tears thanking us for the service that we provide in Fort Knox.” It is special and rare that we truly get to understand the impact we have had on the lives that we have touched; however, at The Ginn Group, our job is to do the job and to do it well; whether it is for family members of those who are seen, or the unmarked grave of whose relatives are long gone.
This Memorial Day, we want to honor all of the men and women in their final resting places of Fort Knox National Cemetery and other cemeteries across the nation. It is because of their ultimate sacrifice, and the sacrifice of those who served along with them, that our freedom remains intact today.