Van Buren Cemetery Headstones Being Restored After Vandalism

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VAN BUREN (KFSM) -- More than a dozen headstones were knocked over, and five more were broken at Fairview Cemetery in Van Buren earlier this year.

Now, it is art conservationist Mica Balcom's job to fix them.

Balcom said fixing the stones takes many steps, but he is familiar with the cemetery, because he has previously restored 51 monuments there in the past nine years for regular wear and tear.

“We'll just make a matching mortar that matches it, and once it's cleaned, we'll match that with the mortar, use stainless pins and epoxies and put them back nearly to original,” Balcom said.

Balcom said some of the stones he is repairing have been damaged before but were not correctly repaired.

He said it will take more than 75 hours to fix the headstones that were damaged.

“It'll take me probably 15 hours from the time it's sitting on the work bench until the time it's sitting back over here finished,” Balcom said, talking about one of the memorials.

Two juveniles were arrested on suspicion of criminal mischief in this case, but Balcom said he has a way to prevent them from doing something like this ever again.

“They should make them come clean every gravestone out here with a toothbrush, make them work a nine-hour day with a 15-minute lunch break, scrubbing these things,” Balcom said.

The city of Van Buren did receive a grant for nearly $10,000 to fix the headstones, and Balcom said they should be back in place in a few weeks.