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Women with disabilities clean veterans' headstones

Posted at 12:20 PM, Apr 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 13:20:18-04

TULSA — Four women with disabilities spend three days a week cleaning the headstones of veterans and their families at a local cemetery.

A New Leaf and Shining Honor Project partnered together in the last month.

Now, Trinity, Kim, Maxine and Cheyenne sit on the ground with brushes and spray bottles at the Rose Hill Memorial Park scrubbing headstones.

"You use soap, water and DEQ," Cheyenne said.

The women spent two week cleaning Commander Charles Brewer's headstone. They said it was covered in moss.

"I feel like I did achieve something that day that we cleaned it," Kim said.

The women are known as the Honor Team. With each headstone they clean, they wonder who exactly it is they are honoring. They calculate how old the veterans were and try to figure out how they are related.

"Sometimes when I look at the name I will just sit there and pray for them," Kim said.

Shining Honor pays the women $9 an hour and covers all the costs of supplies.

Honoring the veterans and their families is more than just a job for these women. Kim and Cheyenne talked about their family members who have served in the military and how they would appreciate if someone did this for their loved ones.

"It goes beyond the $9 paycheck for them," Erin Wambold with the Shining Honor Project said. "It gives them an added sense of purpose and pride in their lives and that they actually do care."

Wambold said they take pride in being able to offer patriotic employment opportunities to a community that is underserved and regularly faces cuts to funding.

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