At 87, Skippy Lyness-Blanch had a special reason for becoming a volunteer at Riverview Cemetery. Her first-born son Tommy, who died after six days of life was buried there. But for more than seven years the cemetery's baby section of 500 graves had been buried under a 12 foot high pile of dirt.
On a scorchingly hot July day in 2009 Skippy was among the 45 volunteers that began the task of removing the mountain of dirt over the long-forgotten baby graves. A "bucket brigade" was formed using anything that would hold dirt. The work was laborious, exhausting and took more than 8 hours. Once the dirt was removed, the area had to be leveled with a front loader so ground penetrating radar equipment could provide clues about where to dig for markers. Nearly a year later, as 22 volunteers assembled to work on Mothers Day weekend
in 2010, they were asked to keep a lookout for a black marble marker bearing the name of Thomas Eugene Lyness. Less than an hour later the shout came: "We found it! We found it!"
Hands that first held her baby and now aged by time softly brushed the dirt from his long lost marker. "This is the best Mother's Day ever," Skippy smiled through her tears as she stood over her son's grave.
It's like coming home. What better present could a mother have?"