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Providing Safety and Hope for Arkansans

Committed to public safety and providing professional management solutions and evidence-based rehabilitative initiatives for offenders

Area 5 crew serves Fort Smith by sprucing up Oak Cemetery


Posted by Manda Bass on October 14, 2020


Fort Smith Career Planning and Placement Specialist Pauletta Martin moved into action after seeing a local River Valley television station story about a Fort Smith cemetery that had fallen into disrepair.

Martin knew that her community service workers could make a difference at the Oak Cemetery, a 37-acre plot, is under perpetual care of the Fort Smith’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Recent circumstances stemming from the COVID 19 epidemic had not allowed the city of Fort Smith to hire the seasonal workers that do the lawn maintenance for the city’s cemeteries and parks. Martin offered the community service work crew that she supervises to assist the city in the clean up and maintenance of the city properties. Work crews that are doing court ordered community service have since logged over 160 hours weed eating the Oak Cemetery.

Not only have these workers provided a community service, but they also embarked on a history lesson found in the cemetery. The Oak Cemetery is recognized as a National Historic Landmark. During a search of the grave markers the work crew learned that the oldest grave dated from 1842 and is the final resting place for Captain Gookin. Oak Cemetery is also the final resting place for over 28 outlaws convicted, sentenced to hanging by Judge Isaac Parker. Also resting at Oak Cemetery are over 100 Federal Marshals, Deputy Federal Marshals and 122 Confederate soldiers, veterans of the American Civil war.

After the successful venture at the Oak Cemetery, the Probation and Parole community service work crew is looking forward to assisting the parks and recreation department in other projects aimed at improving the community.

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