‘Everybody deserves respect and dignity,’ new upgrades revealed at Richland County Cemetery

On Tuesday. the newly upgraded Richland County Cemetery held a re-dedication ceremony, where the Richland Co. coroner and local officials talked about what the renovations mean for the community.

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — On Tuesday. the newly upgraded Richland County Cemetery held a re-dedication ceremony, where the Richland Co. coroner and local officials talked about what the renovations mean for the community.

The cemetery needed restorations to properly pay respect to the deceased, some of whom who have no next of kin to maintain their burial site.

“We should already show dignity and respect to our neighbors when they are alive. And we should certainly show it even more when they are no longer with us,” said Richland Co. Councilman Calvin ‘Chip’ Jackson.

The cemetery is the final resting place for hundreds of members of Richland Co. Since Coroner Gary Watts took office, almost 700 remains have been buried.

“Regardless of where they came from; whether we got their remains from under a bridge, or whether they came from a home, everybody deserves respect and dignity. Just didn’t feel like leaving their cremains on a shelf in an office somewhere was the proper way to do that,” said Watts.

Previously run down, the land will now be maintained thanks to volunteers from local groups, such as the Basilica of Saint Peter church.

“So many of these people are the poorest of the poor, they’re the most vulnerable, some of them we don’t know their names, and so we just want to be sure that these folks get a dignified resting place,” said Kathleen Belinga, a volunteer with Basilica of Saint Peter.

The cemetery is for those whose remains are either unidentified or unclaimed, or if the family can’t afford a proper burial.

“It is our honor and our privilege, and we are humbled by the opportunity we were given to show respect to those who are no longer with us, for their final resting place,” said Jackson.

Members of a local Boy Scouts group will be building a gazebo, and soon there will be flowers and trees planted by church volunteers too.

Categories: Local News, News, Richland