MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY — Organizers working on a project to beautify the Hainstock Cemetery are asking the community for donations.
The cemetery is located about three miles west of Olds at the intersection of Highway 27 and Rge. Rd. 22.
Verna McDonald and her family began volunteering to clean up the cemetery last spring. Her parents are buried there.
“They passed away 15 days apart. They almost made it 70 years and they were buried there in 2018,” McDonald said during an interview.
“I’ve already had 40-some families donate. We’re just asking for a small donation so that we can upkeep the area better,” she said. “If everybody gave $20, we’d have lots of funds to work with in the spring, right?”
Those wishing to donate to the campaign can contact Verna McDonald at email@example.com. Her home phone number is 403-791-6270. Here cellphone number is 403-586-1712.
A website has been created: hainstockcemetery.org. It lists Gary Yewell as president and Linda Ogilvie as secretary-treasurer.
“People can go on there and find a grave, find out loved ones if they’re out there. Or they can send their loved one a flower from on-site,” she said.
The names of those who contribute to the fundraising campaign will be listed on the site as well, she said.
“It won’t be the amounts of money (they donated), but it’ll just be the people who are helping us take a step in the right direction for making it look better,” she said.
McDonald said there are indications the committee might be eligible for a historic conservation grant to improve the cemetery. Verna and her husband Brien are working on the paperwork for that grant.
Every time the McDonalds went to the cemetery, it seemed somewhat neglected.
A visit last spring was the last straw.
The grandchildren pointed out Verna’s dad wouldn’t like the condition of the cemetery because he always kept his yard “immaculate.”
So the McDonalds, with help from some friends and relatives, volunteered to help clean it up.
They finished weed whacking around the headstones this fall.
“We’ve had lots of volunteers already,” she said.
There are lots of jobs to do. They include removing weeds, hauling away excess dirt and clay, painting, fertilizing to spur the growth of grass, weed killing, and raising up some graves that sank.
Plans are also in the works to install a big sign at the north entrance of the cemetery.
“There is a sign out there now, but it’s in the very corner. And when they redid the highway years ago and made it higher, you can hardly see the Hainstock Cemetery sign,” she said.
The website contains a brief history of the cemetery. It says the current site of the Hainstock Cemetery was chosen in 1885.
A marker donated by the provincial government “dedicated to the memory of the pioneers and settlers of Hainstock and surrounding area” lists a date of 1893.
“I’m retyping the map right now and it’s just so interesting," she said. “And a man is bringing me one of the first maps of the Hainstock Cemetery. It’s on cloth. It’s not even on paper; it’s on cloth.
“I just think it’s an area where loved ones are and we need to take more pride in it. I know we’ll make it better, because I know this town. This town cares. It just takes the first steps to make it start happening, right?”