Cemetery seeks help for damaged property, tombstones

The Marathon Cemetery suffered significant damage from a storm in the village on Sept. 7. Some of the damage includes displaced monuments and headstones, and trees that have either fallen or split in half. (Photo provided by by Colleen Eustice).

A cemetery in Cortland County is requesting donations to aid clean-up efforts and repairs following a big storm.

Marathon Cemetery, located in the village just east of Interstate-81, suffered significant damage. This came after the cemetery was caught in a storm – which included strong thunderstorms, heavy rainfall and wind gusts – that lasted around 20 minutes on Thursday (Sept. 7).

Colleen Eustice, a volunteer at the cemetery, said about eight big trees and a handful of small trees came down from the storm. Some of the trees, Eustice added, are split and others are still standing but could fall down.

Eustice noted a handful of headstones in the cemetery need to be fixed. Milton Parker, president of the Marathon Cemetery Association, noted there were also displaced monuments.

Parker, a lifelong resident of Marathon, has never seen a storm like the one last Thursday.

“There are too many hazards from the storm. It uprooted and broke off different things,” Parker said. “We’re faced with a mother nature crisis, so to speak.”

Parker mentioned that eight roads in the cemetery were blocked off due to the storm. It was all cleaned up by Saturday (Sept. 9), thanks to tree surgeons and volunteers, Parker added.

“There’s been a lot of community support,” he said.

The cemetery, a not-for-profit organization, relies on donations to cover the costs of the employees and other services.

Eustice said the cemetery is hoping for further donations “before the trees come down and hurt somebody.” One idea, she added, is the possibility of a tree-cutting service donating its time and equipment, which in return means a tax write-off for companies.

Parker confirmed that if individuals send in donations, the cemetery can request a note from the State Department of Treasury for an aforementioned tax write-off.

People can send tax-deductible donations to the Marathon Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 131, Marathon, N.Y. 13803.

For information or questions, contact Eustice at 607-345-8368. Individuals can also reach out to Eustice if there’s interest in volunteering at the cemetery.