Community Care, Input Needed
A teacher in High School once told my class, you can tell a lot about a community by its cemetery. That statement has always stuck with me. In 2017, my family mourned the passing of my Grandpa Al Fahey. To say that we miss him would be an understatement. The first 18 years of my life were spent in close proximity to him. Every child should spend their summers playing and helping alongside their kind and gentle grandpa, where they can learn the names of trees, flowers, local history and geography. Each of us has memories like this attached to our loved ones who now rest in Oakdale Citizens Cemetery. Those first years after we buried our grandpa were made more difficult by the condition we found the cemetery in each time we visited him. Out of frustration, one day I stopped by the Cemetery Office to complain. Before I knew it, I was on the board and now I truly understand the Cemetery’s situation. In one sense, the situation is dire but in another sense I have no doubt it can be rectified.
The citizens of Oakdale are special, they are a snapshot of those who built this country and tamed the west. Could they renovate and beautify a cemetery founded in the mid 1800’s and bring it up to 2020 standards? I have no doubt. I remember when the community came together to build the play structures at Dorada Park for the youth. I remember when the people and businesses of Oakdale came together to renovate Oakdale High’s football field. Our ancestors, who settled Oakdale and gave us the opportunities we currently enjoy, are now in need of our help. They deserve a cemetery that is dignified and beautiful. To make this happen, I appeal to all the old families of Oakdale whose loved ones rest there now. I appeal to the business owners and agencies who are able to donate time, talent and materials. I appeal to all people of goodwill who enjoy a challenge.
I invite all who read this letter to come to our next Public Meeting, where we hope to share the Cemetery’s unique situation, share what has been accomplished this past year and what we hope to do with your help in the future. It is easy to complain, it’s better to roll up our sleeves and come together as a community to solve our cemetery’s problems. A teacher in High School once told my class, you can tell a lot about a community by its cemetery.
The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 4 at 7 p.m. at Oak Valley Hospital Royal Oak Room, 1425 W. H Street.
Fr. Tom Orlando,
All Saints University Parish