Merrill Monument replaces vandalized headstones
In July of last year, over 20 gravestones at the Merrill Memorial Cemetery were vandalized, leaving the cemetery with thousands of dollars in damage.
Since the incident, businesses and individuals around the community have pitched in to assist with the repair efforts, but none as much as owner of Merrill Monument, Kevin Koss.
Koss has been leading the effort of replacing the damaged gravestones, collecting donations and personally replacing the gravestones. In an interview with Koss on Thursday, Nov. 21, he explained that a lot of the money collected to replace the damaged gravestones came from uncollected reward money.
“No one was ever caught for vandalizing the gravestones,” said Koss. “There was a reward for anyone who knew who vandalized the stones, but that was never collected so we used it to start replacing the damaged stones.”
According to Koss some of the gravestones that were damaged were very valuable and impossible to duplicate.
“There were some old gravestones that were all hand-crafted,” he added. “It would cost thousands of dollars to replace those and they would never be identical to the original.”
Koss later explained that they have only replaced one of the gravestones so far.
“We have one gravestone replaced already, because we wanted to get one in this fall” he added, “We will be getting the rest of them made in the winter and once spring hits ,we will start getting them replaced.”
Merrill Monument is located at N2182 Cty. Rd K, Suite A in Merrill, and can be reached at (715) 536-6654, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.