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Century-old headstones found broken in Sapulpa cemetery

Posted at 9:18 PM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-26 07:15:30-04

SAPULPA, Okla. -- A man is making it his mission to clean and fix broken headstones in an old Sapulpa cemetery.

"I’m very passionate about this, if it brings closure to a family member it’s all worth it," said Daniel Fortman.

It's not something Daniel Fortman takes lightly. He takes pictures for Find A Grave, but takes it a step further by cleaning off dirty headstones.

"I walked the entire cemetery stone by stone, row by row. Sometimes it’ll have green mold on it, black, so I just scrub, scrub, scrub," said Fortman.

He came across several headstones in an old cemetery in Sapulpa that were broken into pieces.

"Can you imagine a family member coming out? They’d be in tears," said Fortman.

It breaks Daniel’s heart to see headstones broken in two pieces, but it really gets to him when they’re for young children.

"It’s bad enough for adults or whatever but when it comes to a baby, an angel, that really upsets me, it makes me sad," said Fortman.

The old cemetery near Mission Street and Line Avenue is no longer used for burial services, according to the city website.

Many headstones in the cemetery date back over a century.

"1853 to 1914," said Fortman.

Oklahoma Monument Company says headstones back then were primarily made out of marble, which is a softer material.

"That old, if the base is leaning one side or the other, then they can fall over," said Brandon Johnson, with Oklahoma Monument Company.

While Daniel doesn't know for sure if it was vandalism or Mother Nature, he's making it his mission to mend the broken pieces by hand.

"It takes a lot of time but it’s well worth it," said Fortman.

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