State Hospital South to honor patients buried in cemetery at memorial on Friday

State Hospital South in Blackfoot is hosting a memorial program at 10 a.m. Friday, May 22nd, to honor patients who have been buried in the hospital’s cemetery, some as long ago as the 1890s.  The hospital has been placing headstones on each grave as it has raised the money to do so.

0520_SHSHeadstone

As part of Friday’s memorial, hospital staff will share stories from families who have loved ones buried in the cemetery, which is on hospital grounds on Cromwell Lane where the road intersects with Seefried Lane. The hospital also will thank the community donors, staff and volunteers for donating funds and installing the headstones. Several Eagle Scouts have helped place more than 200 of the markers as part of their Eagle Scout projects. They have set the stones in cement with assistance from the hospital landscape crew. The cemetery will be decorated for the Memorial Day holiday weekend with a silk flower at each of the headstones.

Eagle Scouts worked with SHS's landscape crew to place more than 200 of the headstones in the cemetery.

Eagle Scouts worked with SHS’s landscape crew to place more than 200 of the headstones in the cemetery.

The hospital has been raising money since 2011 to purchase headstones for each grave in the cemetery. They’ve bought 410 engraved headstones and recently placed an order for another 215, thanks to generous donations from hospital staff, regional staff, family members, and community members. They are hoping to raise money for 391 additional headstones. There are 1,016 patients buried in the cemetery, according to hospital administrator Tracey Sessions. The hospital has raised $43,750 of the more than $71,000 they need to reach their goal. Each grave marker costs $70 to make.

If you would like to make a donation to the State Hospital South Cemetery Headstone fund, please contact Kayla McCain at 208-785-8405 or email her at mccaink@dhw.idaho.gov.

State Hospital South provides psychiatric inpatient treatment and skilled nursing care for Idaho’s adult and adolescent citizens with the most serious and persistent mental illnesses. Learn more about the hospital here. For more news and information about the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare, visit www.dhwblog.com

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