Imagine for a moment that you are at a cemetery viewing a civil war headstone from 1863 that looks brand new. It has been made using modern sand blasting methods instead of the hand chiseling in use back then. It does not have the same effect as a restored headstone; the same stone that the family touched way back when. Unlike National and State cemeteries, private and city owned cemeteries are not given funding for the cleaning and alignment of their headstones. Such facilities often lack the skills, money or interest to preserve the historic headstones. As a result there are thousands of veterans' grave markers in disrepair across our country.

John Kells, founder of Save Our Stones, uses Super-Krete Bond-Kote/Pene-Krete to repair veterans' headstones, rather than having them replaced. A veteran himself, he takes extreme pride in preserving and restoring headstones that mothers have cried over dating back to the earliest wars. For Kells this project is all about honoring those that have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country.

Kells carefully repairing lettering with Super-Krete products. A fully restored veteran headstone.

The official kick-off for Save our Stones will take place Veteran's Day 2011 with Kells repairing a grave marker at a private cemetery near Camp Pendleton in California. This event is scheduled to air on select Fox news channels. Kells repairs the stones by cleaning them, filling chips and chews with a cementitious material from Super-Krete, and then sanding the repaired area. For markers with damaged raised lettering he adds material and then sculpts and scrapes it into the right shape. For markers with damaged recessed lettering he uses a process similar to stamping concrete, making the small stamps himself out of clay.

Ultimately, Kells would like to get volunteers across the nation to help him restore the headstones of our fallen heroes. He envisions a network of trained veterans all working to repair markers in their local cemeteries. For Kells, there would be no better partners in this mission than experienced decorative concrete contractors, people who already have the tools and skills to get the job done.

Mission:The mission of Save our Stones is to find, clean, repair, align and maintain veteran headstones nationwide. Kells says, "This begins with alerting Americans to the damage and degradation that has been inflicted on our veterans' grave markers, most people are unaware." Then S.O.S. will train and support those interested in joining the cause to get the job done in their local area.

Background:Kells, a former U.S. Marine, founded Save our Stones in 2010. The perfect man for the job, he has nearly 30 years of experience in the artificial rock and water feature industry. After proving his materials and methods of cleaning and repairing of white marble headstones to the VA National Cemetery Administration in Washington D.C., Save our Stones was granted permission to restore historical headstones over 50 years old. Before the idea of repairing the stones with a cementitious material was introuduced, the government would simply replace the stone with a new one in the new style of government issued headstones. "With this approach the historic connection is lost," he says. Save our Stones is determined to preserve the historical value, and the memory of the veterans that have served our country.

How you can help:Save our Stones uses 100% of each dollar donated to accomplish their vision. "You can search for veterans' headstones in need of restoration in your local cemeteries and inform us of your findings with pictures, and descriptions of the damage," explains Kells. Then S.O.S. determines the course of action on a case by case basis. "We contact local military groups such as the V.F.W., American Legion and the D.A.V. to find local volunteers to get the job started," he adds.

Kells wants you to know that together we can restore our national can volunteer your time and materials to help out. Start by speaking with the director of your local cemetery about S.O.S. and inform them that there's a way to get the veterans' headstones in pristine condition.

To learn more about Save or Stones, or to get involved:

John Kells
(760) 504-7814

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