West Babylon woman revitalizes abandoned war hero burial ground
After a piece of military history in West Babylon was nearly lost to neglect, a modern day patriot took up the fight to save it.
Larsen Lane Cemetery, a burial ground for war heroes from the Civil War through World War II, was in disrepair after being abandoned for decades.
But Grace D'Alleva, inspired by the soldiers' fight for freedom, made it her mission to try and save it.
She says that stones became demolished and unmarked, walking paths were nonexistant and flowers had disappeared.
"That stuck with me," said D'Alleva. "I said, ‘you know what, I'm going back and I'm going to fix this cemetery.’"
The process began in 2013 when she began weeding and cleaning to restore the grounds, using her own savings in the process.
Boy Scouts, landscapers and tombstone makers joined her efforts, donating their time to finish the project.
Volunteers inhabited the cemetery each day of many weeks, spending 10 to 12 hours a day there.
Four years later, Larsen Lane was transformed, and even researched the family trees of those buried there and contacted their descendants.
For her efforts, locals dubbed her "Amazing Grace."
"Grace did a wonderful job here," says Evelyn Putallaz, great-niece of two Civil War soliders. "I can't thank her enough."