NEWS: A Facebook user's report of a home with a walkway and stepping stones made from the headstones of veterans stirred social media outrage.
On 12 August 2015, Facebook user Ed Harkreader posted an item showing several photographs of what a friend told him was "a fellow across the state line in Missouri that has a walkway and stepping stones made of US Veterans grave markers":
Harkreader stated that he had talked with a local VA rep about the situation and implored readers to share his post to help find someone who could "fix this travesty."
On 18 August 2015, he posted an update that explained the situation:
I went to the residence with two news crews out of Springfield Missouri this morning. We took a Ozark County Sheriffs Deputy with us for obvious reasons. The individual involved seems to have limited mental capabilities and did not understand the significance that the markers represent. His father was a Veteran before his death and there was no malicious intent. The individual stated that he would even help remove the stone markers with help (he physically isn't able to do the job by himself). Folks I felt bad for the guy, he's in the middle of a bad situation that isn't entirely his fault.
The true blame and any wrongdoing belongs with the previous owners of Chaney Monument Company in Gainsville Missouri. The company, according to the Ozark County Sheriffs Office, had a contract to cut Veterans grave stones for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The company failed to properly destroy the markers as according to Federal Law. They dumped the culled markers into a ravine to be covered with soil, but before the markers were covered numerous people were able to remove the stones.
Folks I would also appreciate it if you would share this post. I don't want anything to happen to this person or his property. There are people that might do him harm, and that would be as worse than what has already happened.
Additionally, The Sitrep reported of the issue that:
The man who built this backyard of veteran headstones called in to a local radio show to announce that he was removing all of the grave markers. The radio did not identify the homeowner.
“I was just making something out of nothing,” he said. “Ninety percent of them are broken. They were never in a cemetery. They went from the monument to the landfill. There were mistakes. I didn’t know.”
The stones were made at a former monument company, which dissolved in 2005. Leftover and defective headstones made by the business were supposed to be destroyed, but instead the company dumped them all in a ravine. It was there that they were discovered by a local and later converted into a patio.
The homeowner expressed remorse. “I am not blaming anybody but me. I took them out of the landfill,” he said.