By: Ruth Ferguson, NDG Editor
Last month on a brisk Friday morning, the teachers and administrators from the Church of the Redeemer Montessori School came together to help clean up Shelton’s Bear Creek Cemetery. It was a moving experience for the participants, who not only helped restore dignity to the gravesites but learned about its history.
“It was the most powerful moving event,” Leah Garcia, the Assistant Administrator of the Training Center for the school shared. “All of us left in tears. Anthony Bond gave an amazing speech,” Garcia shared. After his speech, she stated everyone was just silent, and everyone just worked.
While cleaning the unmarked graves, Shannon Flowers, the school’s director, summed it up best, according to Garcia.
“She said, ‘you matter to me.’ Whether they are unnamed or unmarked, it was so very powerful,” Garcia admitted she was moved just thinking again about the experience.
“God works through people,” Anthony Bond, organizer of the clean-up, stated. “It warmed my heart in a very special way to see the total staff of that school to come and volunteer their time to help clean up an old Black cemetery.”
The staff and Father Bob Corley, the priest of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, also in Irving, were seeking a way to give back during their Talents for Tolerance conference. Friday, Nov. 16, was also declared by the United Nations as an International Day of Tolerance.
Garcia stated they felt very strongly about the importance of bringing together, which included teachers, heads of other Montessori schools, and staff out to support the clean-up project. Approximately 20 individuals participated.
The Irving Parks and Recreational Department, under the guidance of Joe Moses, has partnered with the volunteers by hauling off the trash after the recent clean-ups.
“If you have an opportunity to give back, share your knowledge and be willing to learn, this is it,” Garcia stated. She encourages others to volunteer at future clean-up dates in 2020.
Bond has worked for years to bring awareness to the plight of this historic gravesite.
“It was God working through those ladies, and I am grateful for them,” Bond added.