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Cemetery giving new life to old flowers

October 11, 2018 GMT

Two local organizations have come up with a plan to prevent flowers left at Schuyler Cemetery from going to waste and ending up in landfills.

In an effort to make this happen, the Schuyler Historical Society is hosting an all-season flowers garage sale and fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday at the Schuyler Historical Annex, 1112 C St.

Items for sale include flower arrangements put together by members who voluntarily remove and sort flowers from the cemetery. Each is being sold at half price or less from retail rates.

“We only took flowers in the way of the mowing,” said Betty Brichacek, treasurer of the Schuyler Historical Society.

Brichacek said the initiative formed a win-win situation for the organization and the Schuyler Cemetery Board of Trustees, which usually outsources workers with dumpsters to remove old flowers.

Willard Horak, president of the Schuyler Cemetery Board of Trustees, said the partnership saved cemetery administrators from spending hundreds of dollars that would be needed for additional help.

According to Schuyler Cemetery policy, visitors are expected to retrieve their decorative flowers one week after Memorial Day or else they will be disposed of by cemetery staff.

Because a good number of visitors live out of town, Horak said many of them don’t return to collect the flowers, leaving a hefty task at hand because they have to be removed for mowing and upkeep.

“I just couldn’t see them all going to the dump because some of them are really, really nice,” said Horak, who is also a board member of the Schuyler Historical Society. “The flowers are in good condition and beautiful.”

Brichacek said proceeds collected will help cover expenses at Colfax County Museum, 309 E 11th St., and the Schuyler Historical Annex, 1112 C St., which was formerly the Schuyler Sun newspaper building. The museum house county historical articles, whereas the annex showcases the history of the printing press and equipment.

As a nonprofit, Brichacek said funding is commonly generated through donations, fundraising, events and memorials. Because the organization operates two buildings, Brichacek said it doubles daily expenses, as well as electric and utility bills, though no dollar amount was set as a fundraising goal.

“We strive to get as many (flowers) sold as possible,” she said.

This is the second year Schuyler Historical Society is hosting the fundraiser, however, this would be the first time it’s held after Memorial Day. Because of the higher volume of flowers collected this year, Brichacek said it made sense to host another sale.

“It has been successful and we are pleased to be able to do so,” she said.

Horak said the fundraising event has always been a success. He said the organization successfully sold all the flowers during the first year.

“It’s just nice to see that people support us and to come out and buy flowers from us,” he said.

Natasya Ong is a reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.