Volunteers join man’s mission to clean all 300 veterans’ graves in Alberta cemetery

In 2016, Eric Dahl made it his mission to painstakingly clean and repair the approximately 300 veterans graves at the Drumheller, Alta., cemetery. 

Over the past 18 months, he managed to fix up about 250 of those and on Saturday, dozens of volunteers joined him from across the province to help him finally finish his quest. 

“Every one of them will be taken care of, from whatever nation that they served under. They are all brothers and sisters. For me they are family and they will be treated as such,” Dahl said. 

Eric Dahl places a Canadian flag by a grave in the Lethbridge cemetery. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

Dahl’s grandfather was a member of the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War. He survived being in a submarine that was torpedoed, and was at one point imprisoned at the Stalag 5 military camp in Germany. He’s buried in England. 

Dahl took on the project to honour him and others who served. 

Heather Jones attended the clean-up event with her two teenage sons and some coworkers. 

“I think that it’s pretty special what Eric did, and to do that all himself I thought was pretty powerful. Definitely moved me,” she said. “When I heard about it, I just wanted to be involved. I wanted to help,” 

Heather Jones was joined by her sons and co-workers at the cleanup. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

The volunteers scrubbed the graves, swept away debris and placed flags for each veteran’s nationality. 

Lise Duplin is half French and half Ojibway. She placed French flags on the five French veterans graves.

“I do have a French background, and it’s meaningful. It means something to me. I feel honoured and blessed just to be here today honouring the French veterans who served,” she said. 

Their hard work did not go unnoticed. 

Jeremy Scott, from the Frezenberg Unit of the 3rd Canadian Army Veteran Motorcycle Unit, said he was glad to see veterans being appreciated.

“A lot of younger folk, they don’t know, they don’t understand. So to see people out here, especially at that age of 13 and what not, it’s good to see them out and helping. It shows they care,” Scott said.

Jeremy Scott, right, served in Bosnia in 2003; Bill Hicks, centre, was stationed in Germany during the Cold War and Qatar during the First Gulf War; and David Hornsey, left, was a veteran of Afghanistan and former Yugoslavia. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

Dahl said he hopes his mission will inspire others to do the same and plans to make the cleanup an annual event. 

“Pick it up in your own town. What I’ve done here, anybody can do this. I don’t have means, there’s no big sponsorship. There’s no money behind this. There’s no excuse for not starting this in your own hometown.”

Drumheller is about 130 kilometres northeast of Calgary.

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

Originally posted 2018-05-13 06:08:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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