Lebanon woman angry over state of mausoleum

Lebanon woman angry over state of mausoleum

LEBANON, Va. - The state of the mausoleum at Russell Memorial Cemetery has a Lebanon woman furious.

There's water running from the roof and down the walls. "Even though they say they've put a $20,000 roof on here, you can see it's still leaking profusely," Brenda Canter says.

That causes an unbearable odor. "It's almost like a death odor. It's musty, awful," she says. The odor is masked with rusty deodorizers. "I think it's a disgrace to my father. I think it's a disgrace to my country," Canter says.

There's also bugs everywhere. "You can't walk in here without the gnats, the flies, the bugs hitting you," she says. Another problem -- a faulty railing on the stairs that Canter is worried someone will fall on.

Canter's step-father, a World War II veteran, is buried in a crypt in the mausoleum in Russell Memorial Cemetery. "My parents bought these crypts and paid cash at one time for them so that my brother and his wife and myself would all be together," she says.

Now, she's fed up after complaining about the problems above for seven years. "Can you imagine being in a crypt and not knowing if its full of water? Or if it's full of gnats? Or if it stinks so bad that nobody wants to come visit?" Canter says.

She's asked groundskeepers to fix the problems, but so far, there's been no changes. "I shouldn't have to call. They should be walking these grounds looking at these problems and already taking care of them," she says.

News 5 walked to the office at the Russell Memorial Cemetery, where a salesperson declined to comment on camera. She gave us the number of Tony Parks from StoneMor Partners, the owner of the cemetery.

He didn't say much either -- just that there was a thunderstorm that damaged the roof, and that they are "adamantly" trying to fix the problem.

But as Canter looks at where she might one day be buried, she says, "I would rather go dig a hole in my backyard and be buried there than be buried here," she says.

She also thinks of her step-father, a man dedicated to his country. "I don't know if his casket is laying in water. I don't know what's behind the walls," she says.

All she knows is it isn't fair to the veterans who don't deserve this. "This community, this town is something to be proud of. The people that lay here are people to be proud of. We don't need people who don't care about our loved ones," Canter says.

Canter says her family is getting a lawyer in order to have all the crypts removed, including her step-father's. She wants the removal to be at the cost of the cemetery.

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