BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) – Many people mark Memorial Day by putting flowers on the graves of their loved ones. But at two of the cemeteries in Brookings, trees are covering some of those gravesites.

Lauren Soulek: Have you ever seen this amount of damage in your time with the cemeteries?

“I have never seen this amount of damage in my lifetime,” Dan Billet, the cemetery sexton, said.

Billet so far knows of three damaged gravestones but he says there are several that are tipped over.

“I hope people understand that because of the damage and the downed trees and everything in the cemeteries, it’s not going to look as nice as it has in the past years,” Billet said.

Billet says they are trying to get as much cleanup done as they can before Memorial Day but it won’t all be finished. He says if you plan on paying your respects at the cemeteries this weekend, you should be cautious of areas with downed trees.

“In some cases, there are hangers up in the trees and if they get much of a breeze or something, they could come down at any point,” Billet said.

Cleanup is expected to take another two or three weeks. After that, Billet says other trees damaged at the top will also have to come down.

“You know, we get all said and done, we’ll probably have about, you know, almost 40 percent of the trees will be gone from here. You know, so it is definitely going to change the looks of the cemetery,” Billet said.

Billet says he’s had a lot of help cleaning up with volunteers from the churches, 4H club and Teen Challenge of the Dakotas.