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Refurbishing grave markers and honoring fallen vets

An army veteran in Schuylkill County has been working to honor and remember fallen veterans from the community.

GIRARDVILLE, Pa. — A few months ago, a neighbor kept hearing that buzzing sound coming from his neighbor's garage in Girardville. It was George Canavan, 88, hard at work, which comes as no surprise to those who know him well.

"He'll do anything for you, within reason if he can do it," said his wife Louise Canavan. "That's the type of person he is. He's a good man"

As an Army veteran who spent years serving in China, George takes pride in taking care of local cemeteries in this part of Schuylkill County, especially the gravesites of fallen veterans. About a decade ago, an idea hit.

"I go out and take care of our cemeteries all the time and one day, I kept looking at these green, bronze, or brass things and thought I could clean them and that's how I started cleaning them."

So George started putting special care into fixing, cleaning, and refurbishing the American flag holders that stand beside the grave markers of veterans. First, he cleaned them by hand, before switching over to a sandblaster and the transformation is eye-popping. Over the past 10 years, he's redone hundreds of them.

"When I'm laying in pain, I'm thinking about what I have to do and I think that's what keeps me going, my back and my knees, I could complain all day, but I just keep going. I can't wait until I get down here and tinker around."

There's no stopping anytime soon for this veteran, who continues to honor and remember fallen veterans.