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Roger Eurbin's efforts to restore Hillside Cemetery, which got a $3,000 boost on Monday, are called 'a labor of love.'

Big Y Donates $3,000 to Hillside Cemetery Restoration

By Rebecca DravisiBerkshires Staff
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Roger Eurbin, left, accepts a check from North Adams Big Y Store Director Casey Cusson while North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright looks on Monday morning.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The efforts of one man to repair Hillside Cemetery got a boost Monday morning when Big Y donated $3,000 to the cause.

Roger Eurbin accepted the check from Store Director Casey Cusson in the North Adams' store's produce department while Mayor Richard Alcombright looked on.

"This check will go a long way," Eurbin said.

Eurbin himself has come a long way since taking on the cause, spending most of 2012 researching and meticulously recording the names, placement and condition of the markers, creating a grid and spreadsheet to work off.

In the spring of 2013, he announced he was soliciting donations to repair Hillside, which is the resting place for many of the city's most significant individuals, including educator Sarah T. Haskins; the city's first postmaster, Nathan Putnam; John E. Atwood, a Civil War soldier who was at Gettysburg for President Lincoln's address; industrialists like Blackinton, Johnson and Tinker; and archaeologist John Henry Haynes. The 1798 cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The cause since then has generated some donations and some volunteers - including students during the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Day of Service and from the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition's Youth Leadership Program - but more of both are needed to continue the job.

"We are always looking for donations," Alcombright said. "We have a lot to do up there."

The mayor said the historic cemetery has "fallen into disrepair," including sunken stones, some vandalism and overgrown foliage.

"It just needs a lot of care," he said.

To help pay for that care, the city has pledged to match $10,000 in donations, Alcombright said, so the Big Y check was doubly important.

"This is a really good thing," Alcombright said. "We have very limited resources."

Cusson said Big Y is happy to be a partner in the community.

"Big Y is thrilled to help out where we can," he said. "It sounds like a great project."

Donations in any amount are appreciated and should be made by check to "City of North Adams-Hillside Fund," c/o Mayor's Office, 10 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. To volunteer to help with the cemetery work, call Rosemari Dickinson in the Mayor's Office at 413-662-3000.

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