KELLY GRIMALDI, historian for the Albany Diocesan Cemeteries, (l.),and summer intern Maria Santacruz work on one of the veteran’s stones at St. Mary’s Cemetery.  (Photos provided by Albany Diocesan Cemeteries)
KELLY GRIMALDI, historian for the Albany Diocesan Cemeteries, (l.),and summer intern Maria Santacruz work on one of the veteran’s stones at St. Mary’s Cemetery. (Photos provided by Albany Diocesan Cemeteries)
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Feeling patriotic? Then maybe it is time to ‘Adopt a Soldier.’

St. Mary’s Cemetery in Troy is offering a unique opportunity — the Adopt a Soldier — Veterans’ Memorial Restoration Project — that would let people sponsor a gravestone cleaning and more for one of the many veterans buried in the cemetery.

With a one-time donation, contributors can choose between sponsoring a ‘Veterans Gravestone Cleaning’ ($50) or a ‘Veterans Gravestone Cleaning and Reset’ ($125), which includes funding the restoration of the veteran’s gravestone to as close to the original state as possible, while also preserving it for generations.

St. Mary’s Cemetery, founded in 1844, has veterans buried there who served from the Civil War to the Vietnam War and more recent conflicts. Many of the older gravestones have deteriorated over time due to the elements.

“We’re very disappointed this year, due to the pandemic, we are unable to offer our popular volunteer workshops where people learn proper cleaning and repair techniques and assist in a restoration project. It’s a fun way to connect with other community members.” said Kelly Grimaldi, historian for Albany Diocesan Cemeteries.

Last year, the Albany Diocesan Cemeteries hosted approximately 40 volunteers who restored over 200 graves. The coronavirus caused the cancellation of its volunteer event scheduled to take place this summer.

“Our ‘Adopt a Soldier’ project is a safe way for people to be part of cemetery restoration in a different, but still meaningful manner,” Grimaldi said.

Donors have the option to choose a specific soldier to sponsor through a list St. Mary’s Cemetery has curated on its website, which includes over 130 veterans’ names. The list has a current photo of the grave and: the state the veteran was born, what branch of the military they served, along with the rank and unit, what war they fought in and their date of birth and death.

If you are interested in the ‘Adopt a Soldier’ project, you can download a sponsorship form from the ADC website https://blog.capitaldistrictcemeteries.org/st-marys-veteran-restoration-project/, or contact Grimaldi at Kelly@adcemeteries.org  or by calling (518) 350-7679.