“Don’t Get Discouraged by All of the Bad. There are a Lot of Good People”

Sometimes an unkind deed is followed by a good deed. In June 2013, someone illegally dumped trash on top of unmarked Civil War-era graves in Matoaca Cemetery in Chesterfield, Virginia, but after seeing a story on TV about the illegal dumping, Dennis Aldridge, a Good Samaritan, spent about two hours cleaning up the mess. He took it to a landfill and paid the $7 fee to unload the trash there. Witness Kathy Powers said, “He was throwing stuff up in in his pickup truck and wiped the place clean. When I walked around and saw the truck piled high with debris, I was smiling from ear to ear.” Mr. Aldridge said, “Well, I came by to clean up the mess that someone left in the cemetery. If you look around, this is a pretty little cemetery.” Ms. Powers said, “You tend to forget the good things because there are so many bad things, but when I saw that I thanked him and I thanked him and thanked him.” Mr. Aldridge said, “I never expected anyone to see me do this. I wanted to get it done and go about my business.” Ms. Powers said, “You see me grinning from ear to ear. That is what I’ve been doing all morning. It really warmed my heart.” Mr. Aldridge said, “This is a beautiful place. Take pictures — leave footprints. If you see anything along the way, pick it up.” He added, “Don’t get discouraged by all of the bad. There are a lot of good people. Somebody would have cleaned it up if I didn’t. Someone would have, knowing this community.”

For Further Information: Alix Bryan and Greg McQuade, “Good Samaritan cleans up trash on Civil War graves.” WTVR (Richmond, Virginia). 20 June 2013; updated 21 June 2013


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