Andrew Lumish, 46, doesn’t sit on the couch watching TV or go fishing on his days off from work. Rather, Lumish spends almost every Sunday cleaning the tombstones of veterans.
The Florida man, who owns a cleaning service, brings a bucket, scrubs and cleaning products to cemeteries around Tampa and spends up to 10 hours scrubbing tombstones every week. It sounds a but unorthodox for a Sunday activity, but his motivations are pure.
Lumish wants to honor the contributions that the military service men and women have made to their country, which is why he invests so much time in restoring forgotten and decaying headstones. An aged tombstone can take as many as four months to thoroughly clean and Lumish takes that time to learn about the person to keep their memory alive.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that Lumish has restored upwards of 300 gravestones. His act of kindness began when he was photographing historic graves and noticed several inscriptions related to the person’s military service.
He told the Tampa Bay Times in late 2015: “Something bothered me. Their final resting places were total disasters.
“They’d been neglected from the time they’d been buried.”
Lumish, who considers himself a history buff, researched the most effective ways to restore marble, granite and stone structures before beginning this crusade.
He told CBS News in 2016: “If [people] can’t read it at all, they can’t celebrate it, they can’t honor that person, they can’t appreciate that person.
“Whereas if you properly restore the monuments, you can begin an entire conversation, and potentially — in a figurative sense — bring that person back to life.”
When he completes a headstone, Lumish a before and after picture on his Facebook and Instagram page, both entitled The Good Cemeterian, to show the difference. He also shares the information he’s learned of the buried veteran.
Speaking to Reader’s Digest, Lumish said: “Some of these guys, who some consider heroes, would leave their wife for another woman, and leave six kids.
“It’s a war hero who won a medal of honor for serving in the Civil War and was thrown in jail for not paying child support. … It’s like the Real Housewives of 1985.”