LAMESA, TX (KWES) - The Lamesa Memorial Park Cemetery has had a history of being in bad shape. The issue is that half of the cemetery is owned by the county, but the other half was privately owned.
Nearly a year ago the Lamesa Memorial Park Cemetery was covered in weeds and headstones were cracked due to poor management. But, just three months ago, two Lamesa men decided to take over the cemetery in hopes of giving residents a dignified place to bury their loved ones.
Jose Morales, Lamesa resident and current owner of the cemetery, said "Our families are here, so we pretty much look at it as, I would like my loved one's space to be clean and cut."
For the past few years, the privately owned portion of the cemetery had been anything but clean and cut.
Foy O'Brien, the Dawson County Judge, told NewsWest 9 that he has family buried in the privately owned part of the cemetery. "It's disappointing when you go out there and you see dead grass and weeds taller than tombstones out there and you just wonder why," said O'Brien.
The reason for such poor upkeep of the perpetual care cemetery was because the county owns the west side of the cemetery, but the east side of the cemetery had been privately owned by a company outside of Lamesa. The county took care of grounds keeping on their side, but the privately owned portion was often neglected.
The lack of upkeep is why Jose Morales and Devin Avant of Lamesa decided to take matters into their own hands.
"We worked here, so we decided, we live here and we decided just to upkeep it ourselves, I mean nobody else wanted to step up in town we heard a bunch of cries for help but nobody really did anything," said Morales.
Jose and Devin are in the process of going through lawyers to get complete ownership of the east side of the cemetery. Over the last three months, they have had to pay out of pocket for all improvements.
The two new owners tell NewsWest 9 that the funds coming in for perpetual care are put in a bank and can't be touched until the cemetery is completely filled. Once the money is dispersed, the funds will be used solely for grounds keeping.
"In order to get improvements quicker it would be better to raise funds so that we can apply it towards that, I mean most of the funds that come in have to be used for the grounds keeping."
Jose and Devin have started a "Go Fund Me" account that can be found on the Lamesa Memorial Cemetery Local Owners" Facebook page or by clicking on here. The two hope to get some monetary help from the community to keep the cemetery looking clean and presentable.
"Anytime you can get any local people to take the bull by the horns and get out there and get after it and get involved enough to say hey let's fix this and then go after it then I'm all for it," said O'Brien.