Mailman spends his day off cleaning headstones of fallen soldiers

While most of us would rather spend our day off from work relaxing, running errands, or binge-watching our current favorite series, this man chose to spend his in a more meaningful way.

day off

Florida mailman Clarence Hollowell works from Monday to Saturday delivering mail for the Jacksonville Beach Post Office. But when his day off comes, he doesn’t spend it staying at home all day. Instead, he visits one unexpected place: the cemetery.

The 60-year-old army vet is not there to put flowers on a departed loved one’s grave – he is there to clean the tombstones of late veterans who have no visitors.

To date, he has cleaned over 600 tombstones.

Emily Bloch | The Florida Times-Union

It usually takes him two to three weeks to properly clean a tombstone. Typically, he works on those that belong to veterans who passed away when they were just 18 to 20 years old. Whenever he picks a headstone to clean, he does a little research on about the person buried there. By doing that, he learns more about the person’s life and feels a stronger connection to them.

Clarence uses a special cleaning solution that he purchases online with the use of his own hard-earned money. According to The Florida Times-Union, he only brings a “plastic scraper to remove growth, a soft bristled brush, a toothbrush for small areas, water and a special cleaning solution he orders online.”

He starts with one corner using the cleaning solution, which costs about $40 per gallon, and works with a soft brush. He estimates that he’s cleaned about 36 graves at the Jacksonville cemetery alone, and adds that if “one person comes over and looks, I’m happy.”

Emily Bloch | The Florida Times-Union

“My definition of Memorial Day is they gave their tomorrows so I could have mine today,” he said.

Clarence, who comes from a family of military veterans, says that “Everybody’s gotta have a project. And I think if you can help the community, even better.”

Every Sunday means one more cleaned headstone and a well-spent day off for this selfless man. Kudos to Clarence for his noble service to these military men and their families!

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