This past Saturday I volunteered to help clean out the growth that has overgrown St.Nicholas Bethel Baptist Church’s cemetery. This was the second Saturday that they had been working and the amount of space cleared in just two days is pretty incredible.

They have uncovered graves and learned about some of the deceased. Leon Holland passed away in a motor scooter accident at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He was only 20 years old. His father was Isaac B. Holland. Another veteran, Benjamin Wiggins, lived in South Jacksonville back in 1910 and was a railroad laborer. His parents were Henry and Florence Wiggins. He died of tuberculosis in North Carolina in 1953, but made it back home to be at rest.

Many of the church members and leadership were working, sawing down trees, pulling up thorny vines, dragging the waste out to the street. Pastor Carl Patterson, Deacon Patrick Robinson, Deacon Roy Ulmer, and Minister Stanley Kight were among the leadership and Loretta Badger, Robert Brown, and Veronica Kight were among the members. I spoke with Veronica at length about how much work everyone has done and how dedicated the church is to getting the cemetery to a point where they can just maintain it. She was overjoyed with how many volunteers not affiliated with the church have come to help as well.

Local business owner, RJ Caster, did a recon for Team Rubicon, to see how big the project is and to determine how much assistance Team Rubicon could provide. He showed up with lawn mowers, chainsaws, and other tools.

Jill and Remy, her teenage son, helped with whatever was asked of them, whether collecting trash, dragging out yard waste, pulling down vines, or raking up piles. While they came out to help with this initiative, Veronica shared that Remy could get credit for volunteer hours for his school; they just needed to sign a community service hours form from his school.

If anyone is interested in volunteering, email If anyone is interested in donating via CashApp or Zelle, here is the church’s information:

  • CashApp: #$Snbbc 001
  • Zelle: 904 6311513

Other materials needed include:

  • Chainsaws
  • Loppers
  • Rakes
  • Large Bags
  • Lawn mowers
  • Gloves