WATCH: Florida’s “Good Cemetarian” Spends His Free Time Cleaning Forgotten Gravestones
If he had his way, he’d do it seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Andrew Lumish isn’t your ordinary volunteer. While some people choose to volunteer at soup kitchens, the Tampa-area native has dedicated countless Sundays to restoring the forgotten headstones of bygone generations.
On his hands and knees, Lumish, who also goes by the nickname “The Good Cemetarian,” painstakingly removes the moss and dirt that has taken up residence on countless headstones across central Florida. He’s particularly invested in gravestones belonging to veterans.
“If they can’t read it at all, they can’t celebrate it, they can’t honor that person, they can’t appreciate that person,” he told CBS News last year. “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.”
Lumish, a specialty cleaner by trade, went on to describe his headstone cleaning technique. “I scrub. And I scrub. And I get the edges. And I get in the letters. And I get in the numbers. It could take 20 minutes, it could take two hours.”
On his Facebook page, The Good Cemetarian, Lumish shares stunning before-and-after photos with the stories of the men and women who lay beneath the gravestones.
Along the way, he’s earned heaps of praise from the families of veterans, but he’s managed to stay grounded and committed to his cause. “I am appreciative of it, but I’m unworthy of the same respect of someone who chooses to go the route to serve our country,” Lumish told CBS. “And for someone to approach me, to show me that level of respect, it’s humbling, to say the least.”