Inmates clean cemetery in Darlington County

Darlington County, SC (WMBF) - Darlington County inmates helped clear a portion of a cemetery in the Pee Dee.

Tree trunks, heavy limbs and debris cover the cemetery, which is more than two acres and located in the city of Hartsville.

"I would have 10 or 12 people [volunteer] -- sometimes I would only have six [volunteers]," said Adlena Graham, City of Hartsville Councilwoman.

Graham has been trying to rally people together for years to help clean up the graveyard, which houses veterans and is the first Black Historical Cemetery in Hartsville.

Some of the graves date back to the early 1800s.

"The sheriff was contacted and he agreed to send some people out here to start working to clean it up," Graham said.

"It certainly looks a lot better than it did the first time I came out here, and there is a lot of work still left to be done," said Darlington County Sheriff Wayne Byrd.

For the past couple of weeks, inmates have been out there pulling up weed and hauling away debris to spruce up the area.

But these guys aren't the only people who have been out giving this cemetery a little TLC

"Every Friday, we do a service project and I thought this was a really neat one because we got the opportunity to clear out the cemetery and pay respect to their families," said Hope Wilberger, student.

"We got some clippers and clipped some of the veins and trees and some of the trees," said William Daniel said.

The students from Thomas Hart Academy also helped clear debris. It's a project they call rewarding.

"There is a lot of history and a lot of important things here. I mean look at the number of veteran's graves that are here," Byrd said.

The sheriff's office says it was going to continue to send inmates out here to get this place in shape.

However, a $300,000 budget cut, made this week, may be a problem for the sheriff's office to fulfill the plan.

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