"Kristie, Michelle, and Robyn have some great ideas for what they want to accomplish as part of the cemetery board. They want to fundraise, and get local people involved, as well as anyone else that has a loved one in any one of the three cemeteries in Newcomerstown. They said they have a plan to be a very active board, and I have no doubt that they will be just that," said Newcomerstown Mayor Pat Cadle.
During village council’s regular session on May 6, the first Newcomerstown cemetery board was approved. The board is comprised of three Newcomerstown residents; Kristie Wilkin, Michelle Mozena, and Robyn Hickman. All three women are life-long residents and have a genuine compassion for residing, maintaining, and preserving their beloved hometown of Newcomerstown, and the final resting place of her people.
Some of the goals of the Expendable Trust Fund for the Cemeteries of the Village of Newcomerstown board are:
To build up the trust fund for the cemetery (currently at $40,000). The trust fund was originally set up to never be less than $30,000 at any given time, with only the interest received from the $30k to be used for perpetual care of the cemeteries. Wilkin stated " We (the Board) need to make sure that the fund continues to build so that we can maintain the cemeteries for years to come. We plan to do fundraising to help us attain that goal".
To start a local chapter of volunteers that has a specific interest in the continuity of beautification, and improvement for the three cemeteries.
To start a Facebook page, and develop an identity, and name for the cemetery chapter. The board is looking for ideas, suggestions.
To improve security at the cemetery due to recent theft, vandalism reported at the cemeteries.
To work closely with the Street Department, and help attain any necessary equipment, supplies to maintain, improve the cemetery grounds.
The Board plans to have monthly meetings, with a Board representative attending the village council meetings to provide consistent updates.
Kristie Wilkin, a current village council member, will finish her first term this coming December. While she does not plan to run for a second term, she plans to devote her time to the cemetery board. She has a passion to ensure that the cemeteries are kept attractive and maintained. Wilkin’s late husband, Tom Wilkin, as well as her parents, grandparents, and other family and friends are buried in West Lawn. Wilkin states "Travis Goodwill, Bob Shepherd, Chris Harrah, and Lane Gribble (Street/ Cemetery Department) take much pride in keeping the three cemeteries mowed, and maintained so well. It can be a challenge with only the help of three part-time summer helpers".
Robyn Hickman, a life-long Newcomerstown resident, mother of two children, has been a significant supporter for the cemeteries since the time Wilkin was working on cemetery maintenance and improvements when the village was experiencing a fiscal emergency. Hickman also has multiple family members buried at West Lawn. Hickman states "I want to continue to keep the cemeteries as beautiful as they are now. We have a great Cemetery/ Street Department and we want to give them the support to ensure they can continue to do the awesome job that they do".
Michelle Mozena, also a life-long Newcomerstown resident, mother of two college-aged sons, has been a business owner in Newcomerstown for thirty years. Mozena also has a genuine interest in the ongoing maintenance for the cemeteries, and preserving the future of the cemeteries. Mozena states "I have been wanting to get more involved in the community, and being a part of the Board is going to be my way of giving back to my community. I grew up in Newcomerstown, raised my children, and operated my business for the past thirty years here".
Donations to the Cemetery Trust Fund can be sent to: Mayor’s Office, 124 W. Church Street Newcomerstown, Ohio 43832, c/o Cemetery Trust Fund.