Lakeland man to honor war heroes that many don't know are buried in tiny cemetery

Posted at 6:22 PM, Apr 06, 2017

A Lakeland man who stumbled upon dozens of old grave markers for local veterans is now trying to find a way to honor their sacrifice.

Recently, Kenny Weberman took a stroll through the small Griffin Cemetery in Lakeland. His eye caught the old, weathered stones, but then he started to notice all the veterans.

He counted at least 37.

“I had no idea that there were this many war heroes who were buried in this small cemetery,” he said.

Thousands drive past the cemetery everyday and he feels they have no idea about the history they’re driving right passed.

“These are the people molded America. Who fought for America,” he said.

Weberman kept coming back to the grave sites and kept getting more and more intrigued.

He did some research and found the owner, John Crawford.

“My great grand daddy, Chapman, donated the land for people to be buried in it,” Crawford told ABC Action News.

It turns out Dr. Chapman gave plots away for free to veterans people who lived in the neighborhood — including one for himself.

He’s the only vet in the cemetery who fought in the civil war.

“He lived to be 100 years old and three months,” Crawford said.

Weberman doesn’t know Chapman or a single soul buried here, but being a veteran himself, he feels a connection.

He recently drew up plans to build a monument to honor the veterans — and get people to notice them — etched with all 37 names.

“I felt like I was brought to the cemetery for a reason. For this reason, to construct a monument,” he said.

He started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the roughly $2,800 structure.

He’s hoping by Memorial Day, all the drivers will start to take notice and take a look at what they’re missing.

For more information on how to donate, visit the GoFundMe page.