PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A local veteran is going into cemeteries to give back to his military family.

What You Need To Know

  • Ron Knudsen restores neglected headstones of American soldiers

  • Knudsen served in the U.S. Army and National Guard

  • Knudsen also purchases American flags for each soldier with his own money

Ron Knudsen, 63, restores neglected headstones of American soldiers. He started the project a year ago after watching a YouTube video. The hobby has quickly turned into a passion.

“I enjoy working in the cemetery,” Knudsen said. “It’s quiet and peaceful and there’s history here, a lot of history here.”

Knudsen served in the U.S. Army and National Guard. He said he’s surprised how many headstones have been left neglected. He wants to make sure no soldier is left forgotten.

“I’ll be working on one tombstone and then I’ll hit something next to it and it’ll be another veteran buried there and it’s so buried you can’t see it,” Knudsen said. “And to me, it’s like a forgotten individual. We need to bring them back.”

Knudsen is employed part-time as a maintenance worker. He uses the money he earns to buy cleaning supplies for the headstones.

He also buys American flags for each soldier. It’s not cheap, but Knudsen said it’s worth it.

“To me, in a small way this is kind of me giving back a little bit something,” Knudsen said. “I’m not a rich man. I don’t have a lot. This gives me gratification to do this.”