An effort that dates back nearly a decade to lift and straighten slumped or leaning gravestones in the veterans’ section at Mount Hope Cemetery continued this fall when about a dozen volunteers gathered in the cemetery on Oct. 26.

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Volunteer Jim McElroy, a Vietnam veteran, worked with several others on Oct. 26 to lift and straighten veterans’ gravestones at Mount Hope Cemetery.

The work party fixed 11 monuments and replaced concrete on another.

Although he said work remains to be done, Dennis Teskey, who has been involved in this public service campaign since its start, said volunteers have made considerable progress.

“We’re pretty close to being done,” said Teskey, retired owner of Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel.

Teskey emphasized that he was referring only to the task that prompted the project — dealing with markers in the veterans’ section that are conspicuously out of alignment.

Keeping gravestones straight and level will require ongoing periodic maintenance since the freeze-and-thaw cycles that cause the problems will continue.

And Teskey can envision an even more ambitious goal of working on gravestones that are in other sections at Mount Hope.

The veterans’ section includes about 350 gravestones.

“You could take this project a long ways,” Teskey said.

He said he’s in favor of expanding the effort.

Baker City formed an advisory group in 2011 to look at ways to improve the appearance of the veterans’ section at Mount Hope.

Teskey said members of the Baker City Rotary Club discussed the issue and decided to take on the project.

Volunteers from the Rotary Club and the community have gathered annually, not long before Veterans Day on Nov. 11, to work on selected gravestones.

This year’s event on Oct. 26 included members of the Rotary Club and volunteers from Gray’s West & Co. and Stone Tributes Monument Company.

Volunteers included Lon Chavez, Riley Chavez, Brent Kragness and Jim McElroy, Rotarians Lloyd Nelson, Dave Lindley, Dottie Miles and Dennis Teskey, and Gray’s West owner Troy Hanson, his son, Hayden Hanson, and Henry Benavidez from Stone Tributes.

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