Emotions tense as citizens of Comanche confront city council in Tuesday meeting
COMANCHE, Okla. (KSWO) - Emotions were high in Comanche Tuesday evening, as the city council heard from families distraught over items removed from graves at the Fairlawn Cemetery.
“It took me 21 damn years to go by flowers to put on my son’s grave. Everybody else did it for me. I did it. We celebrate the 21st year of his death tomorrow with nothing I put out there,” said Comanche resident, Terra Andrews.
Last week, multiple reports of missing items came out of the cemetery, from empty vases to missing family heirlooms.
Comanche’s city manager, Chuck Ralls, said he did not direct any employee to carry out a cleanup at the cemetery and was just as upset as the outraged residents.
“Back in 2018, we did this, we sent out a notice, publicized it and we went out and removed trinkets and items, flowers we did a blanket cleanup, and it was hell for a period of time,” said Ralls. “And I swore that I would never do it again, so I was just as shocked as any of you when these things came up missing.”
However, residents cast doubt on the City Manager’s denial and were still upset by the meeting’s end.
“My mom is 87-years-old. She goes out to that cemetery and she takes care of those graves. She takes her weed eater out to that cemetery, she takes care of those graves. She takes care of those flowers. Those flowers are not cheap. She takes care of them. She had recently put those out. They were new-looking, they were not tattered,” said Comanche teacher, Annetta Garlinger. “For them to go out there and remove those things from those stones is wrong.”
Ralls discussed improvements to the cemetery, such as repairing the area’s five gates and installing a camera system.
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