SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A Sioux Falls organization has worked for the last four years to place gravestones on unmarked graves at the Minnehaha County Cemetery.
As Carol Woltjer points out, if you were to drive by this plot of land, you’d probably think nothing of it. It’s actually a massive unmarked gravesite.
“There were a number of graves in the Minnehaha County Cemetery that were not marked,” Woltjer said.
Woltjer is the secretary with the Odd Fellows, an organization that has spent the last four years researching plots and raising money to give headstones to these unmarked graves. The graves belong to homeless people, stillborn children, the less fortunate and people who had trouble with the law.
“Every life matters. Regardless of where our path in life took us,” Woltjer said.
Students from area schools volunteered to place the markers.
“No matter where they’ve come from or who they are, I just think it’s important that everyone gets the chance to be remembered,” volunteer Kamryn Whiting said.
Fundraising and donations pay for the memorials purchased from Family Memorials by Gibson. Today, Dylan Clark donated $500 on behalf of the Sioux Falls Firefighter Union.
“We actually had a stillborn at the beginning of the year and so just to be able to give a place to those children so that we can identify who they were and where they are, for us that was big,” Clark said.
Woltjer says everyone deserves a marker.
“Every life has significance and meaning and everybody deserves to have a lasting remembrance that they lived, and that they mattered and they deserve that respect and that dignity,” Woltjer said.