Almost $3K raised for Graceland Cemetery damages

Published 9:00 am Thursday, November 24, 2016

Almost $3,000 had been raised as of Wednesday to repair more than 100 gravesites damaged earlier this month at Graceland Cemetery.

The funds are being raised on a GoFundMe page introduced last week by Doc Bohlman, a childhood friend of Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag in Granite Falls.

As of Wednesday morning, $2,950 had been raised.

Email newsletter signup

Star Granite set 42 monuments back on their bases last Friday, said cemetery board President Brad Wedge.

Albert Lea Monument will help set the damaged monuments back up Sunday, and at that time a better idea of a damage estimate will be formed, Wedge said.

Bohlman said funds from the site have been turned over to Wedge.

“I’m sure they will find something to use it for,” Bohlman said, adding that the funds could be used for a reward fund spearheaded by local businessmen to catch the perpetrators.

Bohlman plans to keep the GoFundMe page up, and he welcomes people to continue to donate money to fund cemetery maintenance costs.

“There is $3,000 there that the cemetery can use for something or help to subsidize the repairs,” he said.

Wedge said the board will wait until a final damage estimate is established before deciding how the funds will be used, adding that he has fielded calls from people across the country who are concerned about the damage.

Volunteers are helping to lower the $14,000 estimated damage cost.

“I’m really impressed and heartened by all of the people who have helped,” he said.

Some of the gravesites damaged date back to 1892, 1895, 1898 and 1920. Pots in the military section of the cemetery were reportedly tipped over. A light that illuminates the flag at the veterans memorial was reportedly broken out.

Albert Lea Electric repaired the light by the cemetery’s main veterans monument at its own cost.

Most of the damage occurred in the northeast side of the cemetery. The perpetrators used baseball bats and pushed over some by hand, Wedge said earlier this month.

Anyone interested in donating can visit the site at

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

email author More by Sam