Talia Corlazzoli and Matteo Ludlow saw a special project for the Ucluelet Cemetery come to fruition this month.
Over the past three years, the Ucluetians have been working on fabricating cement crosses and nameplates for about 40 unmarked graves.
Now, departed souls like David (Duffy) Evans, who passed away on Aug. 20, 2017, has a marked grave for family and friends to visit.
“It’s nice to recognize, respect and honour the people that used to live in our community,” said Talia.
After attending their grandpa or ‘Nonno’ Lorenzo Corlazzoli’s funeral in 2015, Talia and Matteo noticed that many of the graves in the cemetery were unmarked.
The university students first went to the District of Ucluelet for guidance.
“They shared with us a working map of the cemetery,” said Talia.
Parks project co-ordinator Wanda McAvoy helped them navigate the map and went through old district archives to procure death dates of the deceased.
From there, they had John Pingel fabricate a mold for a concrete cross, and with the diligence of Dario Corlazzoli, they created 40 cement crosses. They mixed the concrete in a wheelbarrow with a shovel. Each cross took about one day to produce.
“We stored them all in the basement of Ukee Scoops,” recalls Talia, adding that Dave Ennis donated the gravel for the concrete.
The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (CBT) provided a small youth led scholarship of $440 to pay for the nameplates.
“One of our core priorities is to empower youth. There are more youth grants coming in the fall,” said CBT program co-ordinator Faye Missar.
Matteo was especially quiet and pensive as they set about gluing the new plaques onto each cross last week. He simply said it felt good to see the project through.
The cement crosses lie flat on the grass for easier maintenance and the nameplates were made of plastic instead of bronze or copper.
“So looters won’t take them,” explains McAvoy.