On Saturday, February 22, The Blanco Historic Cemetery Association held its Annual Member Meeting at the Blanco Library. The Directors were all present and a quorum was established. The board of directors consists of Gail McClellan, President; Diane Hostetler, Vice President; Karen Wagner, Treasurer; Patty Coffee, Secretary; and Wyatt Finch, Grounds Superintendent. Mrs. McClellan called the meeting to order and offered a heartfelt invocation. Elementary school students, Mikaela and Annabelle Warren, led the nineteen members in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.
Secretary Patty Coffee had a bad case of laryngitis so Keith McClellan read the minutes of the Annual Membership Meeting that was held on February 23, 2013. The minutes were approved as read.
Karen Wagner distributed budget summary information and a discussion ensued regarding certificates of deposit and the checking account. All monies were accounted for and the Cemetery was shown to be operating within the allotted budget. Some certificates of deposit will be moved and consolidated in order to achieve the best return. Some monies will be moved into a savings account that can be accessed for capital equipment if needed. It was emphasized that two signatures are required for all Cemetery expenditures. “We’re under budget primarily because we haven’t had a lot of maintenance costs,” said Ms. Wagner. “Much of the maintenance work has been donated by volunteers and Wyatt has done much of the work himself free of charge.” Carrol Fuchs has done some maintenance work lately at reasonable rates including mowing, weed eating and the repair and straightening of headstones.
When it was Wyatt Finch’s turn to report on grounds maintenance, he simply asked those present if there were any complaints. “I’ve told those who have complaints to grab a weed eater,” he said. “As long as it doesn’t rain, we’re good.” He complimented the work done by Carrol Fuchs. “He has been fixing headstones and has charged a minimal amount—and when he weed eats, he doesn’t tear up the flags.”
Diane Hostetler expressed her appreciation that “the board is a compatible group.” She went on to say that she is concerned about the flags. “Our country tends to forget our veterans.” She said that help was needed to raise and lower the main flag and to fly it at half-staff when appropriate. It also needs to be laundered on a regular basis. “The last time I worked at the Cemetery,” she said, “I got soaking wet and, for the first time in my life, I got poison ivy!”
Patty Coffee, other than to praise her fellow directors for the work they do, opted to speak as little as possible due to her laryngitis.
Mr. Ted Weeks, of the local post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, addressed the group about his organization’s willingness to work with the Cemetery, especially in relation to the veteran’s flags. He passed out some little stickers to show those present how they can be attached to the headstones of veterans to help identify their graves and to facilitate the placement of their flags. When asked about Confederate flags, he said that stickers of a different color could be obtained to distinguish where those flags should be placed. The stickers cost twelve cents each when purchased in quantities of 100 or more. He also indicated that he had a list of veterans to share with the Board that might complement its list of those who should be honored.
“We put out flags on the graves of veterans all over this area,” he said. “We do it in any cemetery that has veterans; we put out flags that total 700 altogether. We put them out for about a week before Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July. We take them down a week after each of those holidays in order to preserve the flags and reduce expenses. Otherwise, they get tattered and fade.
Ms. Hostetler indicated that she is working on installing PVC tubes to hold the veteran’s flags that will be an improvement over the present metal holders. Local Boy Scout troops, churches and other organizations may volunteer to assist with the distribution and pick up of the flags.
Mrs. McClellan said, “It’s been a good year.” A great deal of headway has been made in updating and correcting Cemetery records. She said that 75 new names of members or potential members had been added this year to the mailing list so they could be reminded of the Annual Meeting and to send in their maintenance donation. She expressed her appreciation for volunteers Cliff and Joyce Knoll and Keith McClellan. She thanked those patrons who had showed up for a work day last spring and gave special thanks for families who maintained their own family plots. The cemetery does mow and weed eat, but it is not a perpetual care cemetery. Everyone who helps reduces the cost of maintenance. She explained that, while the Cemetery cannot afford to buy flags to keep out all year, the new budget will allow us to buy enough to put out for the Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Veterans Day holidays. She thanked Ted Weeks and his crew for helping put out the flags last November and for the 6th and 7th grade class at the Church of Christ taking them down. She expressed her gratitude to members of the Board for their dedication to the Cemetery and for “getting the work of the Cemetery done.”
There was some general discussion about possible Cemetery expansion that ended with an appeal for persons having land in the area that they might be willing to donate or sell for a Cemetery to get in touch with a board member.
It was decided that, in spite of the upkeep and expense, the porta-potty was needed and that it should remain unlocked for the use of those working on the grounds and when there were burial services taking place.
It was announced that three vacancies existed on the Cemetery board: Gail McClellan and Karen Wagner’s two-year terms were expiring, and Jane Miller had resigned earlier in the year. Mrs. McClellan, Mrs. Wagner and Joyce Knoll were nominated from the floor and were elected by unanimous vote. The meeting adjourned at 2:54 p.m.
The Directors met immediately after the Member meeting to elect officers. They voted among themselves to keep the same officers with Joyce Knoll being a Director-at-large.