SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Down the end of Parrish Cemetery Road -- just off US 301 -- sits the place where generations of this town have found eternal rest...
But it’s seen better days.
“It’s been neglected for years,” said Relford Cooper -- who’s known to pretty much everyone around here as ‘Coop.’
“And I just decided I really wanted to do something for the veterans.”
And so, he started working to bring dignity and order to the grave sites here -- especially on the historically African-American side of the cemetery
“He’s always been energetic and wanted to do things,” said his mom -- 78-year-old Daisy Cooper -- who was by his side on the afternoon we visited.
“And I hope it works out real good, because the word is community.”
And that life-long Parrish resident couldn’t be prouder of her son -- who is now the Vice President for the Parrish Cemetery Committee.
But he isn’t just delegating the work, he’s taken it upon himself to clean things up...
“I’ve been able to contact family members and they’ve said, 'Coop, go ahead and take care of our family graves -- and we’ll reimburse you at the end, but the money has been coming out of my pocket.”
It is getting expensive... and he is looking for help... from the community. In addition to signing up families he can track down to a $50 per plot per year maintenance fee, there’s a community wide work day scheduled for December 5th. And everyone in Parrish is invited. You can reach out to Relford Cooper at (941) 840-8119.