Christmas at Fort Hill
by By DAVID DAVIS Managing Editor
Dec 26, 2012 | 1134 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Martha Hull visits the grave of her late husband, Floyd Hull, Saturday. Venture Crew and Y-CAP members decorated the veterans’ section of Fort Hill Cemetery with Christmas wreaths, white crosses and tiny American flags. Banner photo, DAVID DAVIS
Martha Hull visits the grave of her late husband, Floyd Hull, Saturday. Venture Crew and Y-CAP members decorated the veterans’ section of Fort Hill Cemetery with Christmas wreaths, white crosses and tiny American flags. Banner photo, DAVID DAVIS
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Youth groups decorate the graves of veterans at Fort Hill Cemetery on Saturday. Venture Crew and Y-CAP members decorate the veterans’ section of Fort Hill Cemetery on the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Christmas. Banner photo, DAVID DAVIS
Youth groups decorate the graves of veterans at Fort Hill Cemetery on Saturday. Venture Crew and Y-CAP members decorate the veterans’ section of Fort Hill Cemetery on the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Christmas. Banner photo, DAVID DAVIS
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Martha Hull came to the veterans’ section of Fort Hill Cemetery on Saturday because she had heard there was going to be a memorial service.

There was no service.

There were, however, about 20 young people doing a service to the community by decorating the graves with white crosses, Christmas wreaths and tiny American flags.

“It’s beautiful. It’s really pretty,” she said.

The teens were members of the Venture Crew and the Y-Community Action Program. Y-CAP Adviser J.D. Adams explained that Y-CAP is an intervention and prevention program which works with students between the ages of 10-14. The YMCA program is broken down into three components: tutoring, mentoring and counseling. Children are referred to Y-CAP through the juvenile court or school systems.

“When they graduate Y-CAP, they join the Y-CAP Alumni and we do activities with them. When they are old enough, they come into the Venture Crew,” he said. “Hopefully, by the time they graduate Y-CAP they want to come out and do community service projects like this.”

Venture Crew members decorate the graves of veterans at Fort Hill Cemetery on Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Christmas.

“We always come out here to honor the vets,” Adams said.

In addition to community service, Adams said participants try to go camping or have some other kind of outing at least once a month. The Venture Crew is sponsored by AmVets Post 13.

Hull, 77, depends on the kindness of others to visit the cemetery and even though there was no memorial service, she was glad to see the teens at work.

“I hardly ever get up here and I wanted to come to the service. I have to depend on others because, as you can see, I’m in a wheelchair,” she said.

Accompanying her to the cemetery were her sister, Zola Davis, and Kathy Clowers, a friend from Eastside Church of Christ. Adams pushed Hull from the parking lot to her husband’s gravesite. Floyd Glenn Hull served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. He was born July 4, 1924, and died of cancer on March 12, 1995.

A flat slab lies at the foot of his marker engraved with Martha Hull’s name and birthdate. Their wedding picture also adorns the flat marker.

“One month and one day after he passed away, I had my monument made because I want to be buried with him,” she said. “I sure miss him.”

She takes solace in the belief that her late husband is OK because of a dream she about him shortly after he passed away.

“I talked to him and he told me he was all right,” Hull said. “I printed it [her account of the dream] all out and made sure everything was written down, everything he’d said and what I said to him.”

Elmer Eugene Hull, her husband’s youngest brother, is also buried at Fort Hill.

Whisper Manes, 20, who was at the cemetery with her niece, a member of the Venture Crew, placed a wreath on the grave of her father, Lloyd Ray Manes, who served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. He died Oct. 24, 2001, at the age of 51.

“It’s kind of sad, in a way, but happy because I get to place a wreath on his grave. But it’s sad because he’s not here,” she said. Manes has visited her father in the cemetery before, “but placing the wreath on his headstone just brings back memories. I was 10 years old when he passed. Sometimes, I’d just like to have his advice and talk to him again,” she said. “I just think about the future, my wedding, and he won’t be there.”