Boone Co. cemetery badly damaged in Monday’s tornado, residents plead for help

(WISH Photo/Howard Monroe)

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – A historic cemetery in Boone County is asking for help in cleanup efforts after Monday’s tornado.

The Union Lutheran Cemetery is on County Road 250 South in Zionsville.

The earliest burial on record dates back to 1836.

David Milender is the caretaker of the cemetery. He says the most they’ve ever had to clear in the past was a fallen tree, but after Monday’s EF2 tornado, only a few trees remain.

“It’s an act of nature, act of God. said Milender. “The damage in this cemetery is so immense.”

Gravestones are toppled over and trees were uprooted.

“For most people it would be beyond the concept of ever being able to clean this up,” he said.

Winds between 111 and 135 miles per hour whipped through this cemetery. It zig-zagged through Zionsville, nearly hitting the Abney home, which sits across the street from the cemetery.

“We’ve never, ever in all the years we’ve lived here seen a tornado like this,” said Tonya Abney, speaking with her husband Joel.

They say they lost 50 trees as it twirled through their yard.

“It’s a miracle that it did not go directly through our house,” said Abney.

Instead it veered to the northeast, into the cemetery.

As Milender surveys the damage, he does so not only as a caretaker, but as a stakeholder.

“My wife passed away last April. She’s buried in the back of the cemetery. We need help,” said Milender.

His wife’s grave site wasn’t damaged.

“It’s going to take some fairly large equipment to extricate what’s there and right the stones,” said Milender.

The cemetery is private so the only money coming in is from people who bury family there.

If you’d like to help, on Saturday various groups are meeting at the cemetery to help clean.

Milender set up a donation box at the cemetery.

Donations can be mailed to:
Union Lutheran Cemetery Association,
Care of: David Milender
8802 East 250 South
Zionsville, IN 46077


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