Walla Walla Woman Keeps Veteran's Headstones Clean - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Walla Walla Woman Keeps Veteran's Headstones Clean

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WALLA WALLA, -- There's something unexpectedly peaceful about a cemetery at dusk. 

"It's extremely calming, it really is," Sherilyn Jacobson said.

Many days a week, you'll find Sherilyn Jacobson at Fort Walla Walla Cemetery. 

"I'm sitting in the middle of history," Jacobson said.

But she isn't relaxing. She's scrubbing away, cleaning up history. 

"This section is where the officers are buried," Jacobson told us. "It's my understanding that these are the men that were killed in action, during the early Nez Perce Wars in 1877."

All veteran headstones in Walla Walla are getting a good deep clean, thanks to Jacobson.

"I think in the past, all the city has had time and resources to do is maybe a power wash," Jacobson said.

She's volunteering countless hours of her time and energy, to spraying, rinsing and scrubbing. Jacobson says she loves it. 

"Oh, it's a joy," Jacobson said. "I really really do enjoy it."

But it's more than just the new shine on these graves. Jacobson can relate to these anonymous headstones. 

"I was an enlisted person, so that's why I started over there," Jacobson joked. "I was in the Army Reserve and the National Guard for 20 years and I started here in Walla Walla in the medical detachment."

She started this project in the summer, and it's grown to more than just cleaning.

At Mountain View Cemetery, Army Veteran John Arthur Regier fought in World War II. But the ground in which his body laid, sat unmarked for decades. Until Jacobson found his unclaimed tombstone at the local monuments shop. 

In September, the honor guard, including Jacobson, conducted his long overdue, gave side service. 

"Since there was nobody to ask we're not even sure how to pronounce the gentleman's last name," Jacobson said. "We've just been calling him Art. Because he's one of us, we're all comrades."

Today Jacobson continues with the mission at hand, cleaning every Walla Walla veteran's tombstone. 

"By next spring, they will look like they're just placed here," she boasted.

Because to her, they aren't anonymous.

"Because I am one," Jacobson said emotionally.

Jacobson is still looking for headstones for three veterans that she believes were cremated and may or may not have a marker of their own in Walla Walla. Their names are: Ray Singleton, Darrel Hamilton and Orrif May.

If you have any info on the markers for these veterans, please send us an email at news@nbcrightnow.com. 

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