COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — Pikes Peak National Cemetery has issued an apology after volunteers mistakenly threw away all decorations left on gravesites.
“This was an isolated mistake that occurred as cemetery volunteers removed hundreds of Wreaths Across America wreaths from the grounds, as is done each year after the holidays,” said Cemetery Director Skyler Holmes.
April Devolk’s mother, Donna Murphy, is buried on the grounds. Devolk is one of several people who called the cemetery to find out what happened.
Two of Devolk's artificial flower arrangements were thrown away in the mix-up. The cemetery is unable to get them back, but offered to reimburse Devolk for the items.
“I don’t care if it had been thousands of dollars. It’s not a monetary thing,” Devolk said.
Her mother passed away suddenly in September 2020 after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. A personal item from her mother's home was included in one of the discarded decorations.
“You’re dealing with the loss of your loved one and those items kind of represent your loved one,” she said. “And when those items were taken, I felt like I kind of lost a little bit of them again.”
As a result of the mistake, the cemetery said it has implemented a new policy to store personal items for one month before discarding them.