Depending on the time of day, people may experience a different type of Dan Williams at Mount Hope Cemetery.
Sometimes you’ll find Logansport’s Superintendent of Public Works on the back of a lawnmower, keeping the grounds tidy, and sometimes you’ll find him in a shirt and tie, paying respects to those who have passed away.
His actions mirror that of his combined streets and cemetery staff who have handled nearly 40 percent more burials this year already compared to 2011, and Williams said he hopes it is attributed to the effort they have made to make the operations of the cemetery more professional.
“We hope it is,” Williams said. “You have no idea from one minute to the next how busy you’re going to be.”
In 2011, Mount Hope Cemetery had 84 burials, and as of the end of August, it recorded 131 already. When Mayor Ted Franklin was elected, he combined the streets and cemetery departments to create a Department of Public Works. Williams said that has helped tremendously in shifting workers to the workload.
“When we get busy, we’re able to utilize street department employees, so that’s able to give us extra help on extra projects,” he said.
Williams said he made it a point to reach out to all funeral home directors at the start of this year to help understand what his department could do to make Mount Hope better.
“I went there to find out what we can do to make Mount Hope easier and more accessible for them,” Williams said.
The fruits of their hard work came in the form of a letter last month and a $100 check from a Durham, N.C., man who traveled to Mount Hope to visit family plots.
Robert White Sr. wrote to Franklin to tell him that he and his wife were short on time and couldn’t make it to Mount Hope until after 4 p.m. on a recent visit. White said Williams and cemetery employee Bob Bernhardt went above and beyond to make sure they were assisted.
“Both individuals who assisted us are to be commended for their dedication, thoughtfulness and courtesy,” White wrote.
Williams said it is that type of effort his staff puts forward that has brought more people to consider bringing their loved ones to Mount Hope.
“The respect part of the process, our guys are all for that,” he said. “We go the extra mile and I think we work real well with the funeral homes.”
• Jason M. Rodriguez is associate editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5117 or email@example.com.