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Women spearhead effort for new fence at St. Nicholas Cemetery

Courtesy photo A portion of the new fence at the St. Nicholas Cemetery is shwn. Judy Verbrigghe and Judy Trudellwere instrumental in spearheading the project.

ST. NICHOLAS — Two women were instrumental in an effort to repair and replace a fence at the St. Nicholas Cemetery.

The St. Nicholas Cemetery, once owned and operated by the Marquette Diocese was turned over to Maple Ridge Township when the Diocese found it difficult to maintain. The cemetery is located in the middle of an area that was vastly settled by Belgium immigrants. Over the years, the fence surrounding the cemetery became worn and broken from weather and the deer population finding their way in and out of the fence — destroying the wooden lattice.

While visiting the cemetery and reviewing the damaged fence (which has been repaired many times), Judy Verbrigghe and Judy Trudell, Maple Ridge Township supervisor, decided to team up and tackle the challenge of replacing the wooden lattice with new vinyl lattice. It was determined that to replace 100 sections of lattice and to stain the framework, that it would cost approximately $2,200.

The St. Nicholas community is known to pull together and support each other, especially in times of need. With this in mind, Verbrigghe began making phone calls seeking donations for the repairs and the team sent a letter out asking for donations. Within 10 weeks, $22,000 had been donated and the lattice was special ordered from 41 Lumber. Bill Toyra, Maple Ridge Township trustee, donated time to remove the old wooden lattice and Wally Trudell began staining the framework.

On October 10, the day was spent installing the new vinyl lattice by volunteers Judy Verbrigghe and her husband Jerome, Judy’s daughter Amy and her husband Ron, along with Maple Ridge Supervisor Judy Trudell and her husband Wally. To complete the project memorial plaques, purchased by residents in memory of loved ones, will be installed on the fence.

Anyone interested in purchasing a plaque in honor of a loved one, at a cost of $15, can contact Judy Verbrigghe at 359-4545.

This is not the first fence project the township has undertaken. White vinyl fencing has been installed at the Rock Cemetery with two thirds of the funds donated and 100% volunteered labor from members of the community. This project was spearheaded by Trudell, her husband Wally, and Bill Toyra Sr., township trustee. This fence also includes memorial plaques in memory of loved ones which can be purchased by contacting Trudell at 356-6003 at a cost of $15 each.

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