VOF volunteer team celebrates “A Day of Service” at Evergreen Cemetery

  • From left, VOF's Brett Glymph with Gov. Ralph Northam and Enrichmond's Crystal Stovall and Ted Maris-Wolf.
  • Members of VOF's volunteer team clearing brush.
  • Tarp crews hauling brush to dumpsters.
  • Enrichmond's Ted Maris-Wolf guiding Gov. Northam and VOF trustee Viola Baskerville around the property.
  • A young member of VOF's volunteer team clearing a family plot.
  • Clearing brush from a walkway.
  • Before and after pictures of a cleared walkway.
  • A section of the cemetery covered with kudzu.

A team of nearly a dozen VOF staff, family, and friends, including executive director Brett Glymph and trustee Viola Baskerville, headed out to Richmond’s Evergreen Cemetery for a cleanup on January 15 to honor Martin Luther King Day. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday that is also a national day of service — a “day on, not a day off.” Governor Ralph Northam came out to meet and talk with volunteers about the community effort.

In all, 119 people came out to work, braving the frigid temperatures to clear decades of overgrowth and debris from walkways and grave markers in the historic African-American cemetery. The Enrichmond Foundation organized the day’s activities, part of a long-term project to ensure that Evergreen will reemerge as a point of pride for the city.

“There’s no better way of honoring the legacy of Dr. King,” said Ted Maris-Wolf, Enrichmond’s caretaker for the site. “Our volunteers include East End Richmond neighbors, as well as folks from western and northern Virginia who wanted to connect with something larger than themselves and be of service to others.”

Having acquired the 60-acre cemetery in May 2017, Enrichmond will place it under a conservation easement with VOF to protect the site from future development. Over the next several years, the nonprofit will continue efforts to restore the site, making it more accessible to visitors with help from community partners.

“We are so proud to be part of this effort,” said VOF’s Brett Glymph. “Watching the community come together to restore dignity to this special place gives us great hope for the future.” 

Anita Angelone
Anita Angelone is an ex-academic finding a second life outdoors. She assists easement, stewardship and communications staff at VOF.