BENNINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10) — The Town of Bennington has begun resetting gravestones at the Village Cemetery after over 200 were found overturned on October 21. The town is now looking for volunteers to help clean up the cemetery on November 3 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We have been contacted by people from all over expressing their disgust about the vandalism,” said Jonah Spivak, Communications Coordinator for the Town of Bennington. “Many have also been asking how they can help with the restoration.”

The Village Cemetery was founded in 1813 and has about 2,100 graves. Next Thursday, volunteers can help the Department of Public Works reset gravestones, as well as sweep and clean off bases for the stones. Volunteers can also do some light shoveling and help lift heavy stones that are in places where heavy equipment can’t fit.

The town said they are trying to reset as many undamaged gravestones as possible on Thursday. For the ones that are damaged, the town will be doing a full inventory for when experts from the Vermont Old Cemetery Association, the Readsboro Cemetery Commission, and volunteers come to restore the broken stones in May 2023.

If you would like to volunteer, you can bring work gloves and a tool of your choice, such as a broom or shovel. Parking may be difficult, and the town asks volunteers not to block traffic. The nearest off-street parking lot is at the old Benn Hi building.

“The outpouring of support for this historic cemetery is possibly the one good thing about this tragedy,” said Spivak. “Increasing awareness about the cemetery will help protect it in the future, but it is important to remember that even while we are moving quickly to remedy the situation, it should not be taken to mean that this was ‘no big deal’ and that the perpetrators shouldn’t be brought to justice.”

If you have any tips about who did this or have a camera with a view of the cemetery, you can call Bennington Police at (802) 442-1030. The town said it is also working to install fencing on the west side of the cemetery and add additional surveillance.