FRANKLIN FURNACE — People talk about the great things the younger generation does for others, but there is also the older generation that does things for others, just out of kindness in their hearts.
One Wheelersburg man, Harold Carmichael, has been doing just that. Carmichael who celebrated his 80th birthday Tuesday has been working on his own to refurbish some of the statues in the Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Franklin Furnace.
Jackie DeCamp said that she was in the Gardens one day and noticed Carmichael working on one of the statues and she asked him why he was doing it. Carmichael told her that they needed someone to fix them up a little bit and he just decided to do it.
“I wasn’t looking for recognition or anything, I just wanted to do what I could,” Carmichael said. “I’m just trying to help them beautify them and I just took it on, I felt like I wanted to do it.”
Carmichael said that he just finished the latest one on his birthday, ‘The Woman at the Well’ which is found in John 4:4-30 where the woman at the well had her sins “washed away” by Jesus. The story shows that Jesus offers divine mercy in the living water of grace, which washes away sins and cleanses souls.
The woman had gone to the well to get a jug of water. Not knowing what this statue looked like before, but now, if you go to the top of the hill in the cemetery, you will find this amazing seven-foot statue of the woman in purple at the well. Carmichael has brought it to life once again and it is beautiful.
The other statue that he has refurbished is as you come down the hill on the right up on a small hill in front of a grove of trees and it is the one depicting Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. The garden is at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem where, according to the four Gospels of the New Testament, Jesus underwent the agony in the garden and was arrested the night before his crucifixion.
It is here that Jesus felt the need to pray three times in Gethsemane before he reaches a sense of peace one place this can be found is in Luke 22:44. Carmichael has made this statue shine out from the grove of trees and as you pull in the cemetery, your eyes automatically see it because the sun shines right on it up on the little hill.
Carmichael said he wants to do a little bit of painting of a fence and that there is one other statue that he would like to do and that one is of ‘The Last Supper.’ The Last Supper is a late 15th-century mural painting by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. It is one of the Western world’s most recognizable paintings.
The Last Supper is the final meal that, in the Gospel accounts, Jesus shared with his apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. If he does this one, it may be even better than the other two, because it has so many characters to paint and some of the bottom of it is in a need of some repair.
Carmichael said that he has many relatives up in the Gardens, that are buried there, like his parents and others. He said that he asked the owners of the cemetery if he could do these projects and that they said it would be very nice. When talking about the fact that he is 80-years-old and still able to do that, he said, “I’m thankful, thank the Lord I’m 80-years-old and have made it this far.”
Carmichael was very humble when speaking about the project and he didn’t want any recognition for his work. He and his wife live in Wheelersburg, and he said that he has three children and four grandchildren.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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