Meet ‘The Good Cemeterian’ Who Spends His Only Day Off Cleaning Vets’ Gravestones

Support
Andrew Lumish, aka "The Good Cemetarian" spends his one day off cleaning veterans' tombstones.
Photo courtesy of Andrew Lumish

When the weekend arrives, most people spend it relaxing, lounging and recovering from a week of hard work, especially for those who work six days out of the week. But for one 46-year-old business owner, that one day off is spent cleaning the tombstones of veterans.


For the last two and a half years,  Andrew Lumish has spent every Sunday cleaning the gravestones of veterans in three different cemeteries in Tampa, Florida where he lives. The owner of a cleaning franchise, Lumish goes by the handle The Good Cemeterian on social media, where he posts photos of the more than 300 headstones he’s cleaned, along with details of the veterans buried there, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Lumish, whose other hobby is photography, was out at a cemetery in 2015 taking photos when he was struck by the state of disrepair of the headstones. They were covered in decades of dirt and grime, and many of the gravesites belonged to veterans.

That didn’t sit right with him.

"They'd been neglected from the time they'd been buried," Lumish told the Times. "Their final resting places were total disasters."

Related: 1,000 Strangers Attend Funeral For Marine Vet With No Family »

Lumish went home, did some research on how the tombstones are cleaned at Arlington National Cemetery, bought the proper equipment — a soft brush and a biological cleaning solution — and has spent every Sunday since restoring gravestones.

Sometimes it takes 20 minutes, other times it takes three hours.

For each marker Lumish cleans, he also takes time to research who is buried there, and tries to imagine how their families would feel if they could see the graves in the state they’re in.

"I think about their parents, if they were very young,” Lumish told the Times. “I think about their spouses, if they were in World War II and there was no way to communicate the way we can communicate now. I think about a wife at home, not knowing if [her husband is] dead or alive."

Lumish has even taken to providing instructions for other “good cemeterians” who want to help restore the headstones at their local cemeteries.

Though Lumish’s volunteer work has gotten a great deal of media attention recently, for him, it’s all about drawing attention to those buried under the stones he cleans.

"They fought for the freedoms that you and I enjoy today," Lumish told the Times. "If I know that they did these things for my future, my children's future, and I see that they're forgotten, I feel a sense of responsibility to give their family a little bit of light."

Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials are warning soldiers and military families to be aware of scammers using the Exchange's logo.

In a news release Wednesday, Exchange officials said scammers using the name "Exchange Inc." have "fooled" soldiers and airmen to broker the sale of used cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and boat engines.

Read More Show Less

KABUL (Reuters) - The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for a suicide blast at a wedding reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 people, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees a pact with the United States.

The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government.

Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban.

The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi'ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels".

Read More Show Less
U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Brian Kimball

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.

In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Air National Guard/Staff Sgt. Michelle Y. Alvarez-Rea

Frances and Efrain Santiago, natives of Puerto Rico, wanted to show their support last month for protesters back home seeking to oust the island's governor.

The couple flew the flag of Puerto Rico on the garage of their Kissimmee home. It ticked off the homeowners association.

Someone from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association left a letter at their home, citing a "flag violation" and warning: "Please rectify the listed violation or you may incur a fine."

Frances Santiago, 38, an Army veteran, demanded to know why.

Read More Show Less
Todd Rosenberg/AP

A West Point graduate received a waiver from the U.S. Army to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, and play in the NFL while serving as an active-duty soldier.

The waiver for 2nd Lt. Brett Toth was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who said that Toth signed a three-year deal with the Eagles. Toth graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2018.

Read More Show Less