Restoring veterans' graves brings old and new generations together

- Common ground can be rare between a young teen and a baby boomer, but that's exactly what Tom Pawlak and Levi Brown found at Greenwood Cemetery.

The two share a passion for restoring veteran's memorial markers, removing the years of tarnish and neglect, and making them shine again.

Pawlak has been doing this for years as apart of the Honor and Remember Program, but says it never gets easier to bury a friend.

"It chokes you up every time and my buddy died 50 years ago, and still, whenever I start giving a talk and explain, 'My buddy Ken,' you just can't talk," said Pawlak.

Brown, an Eagle scout, has been restoring markers for less time, but says it still hits close to home.

"I thought it was really cool because it has to do with veterans, and we're a part of the American Legion and that's all about veterans, and that was the only thing I really thought about that project, and when I saw that, I thought it was really cool," said Brown.

Pawlak adds, once you start restoring markers, it's impossible to stop.

"There's something that clicks in your mind that, I don't know if they call it euphoria or it sets your pain back," said Pawlak.

Levi says he thinks about the men and women who fought and served, more grateful after each marker.

"We get to help veterans that can't help themselves anymore, or families that can't do it anymore either, and people can read it and see that it looks nice," said Brown.

Whether you're looking to pay your respects or find a therapeutic activity, Pawlak says they're always looking for more help.

"You have a bad day, girlfriend dumps you, you lose your job, go out to a cemetery and do some markers," said Pawlak.

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