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Mother and daughter obtaining name plates for unmarked graves in Clyde River

There will soon be far fewer unmarked graves in Clyde River’s cemetery thanks to the efforts of local mother and daughter duo Veronica and Jocelyn Kautuk
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Jocelyn Kautuk and her mother Veronica, not pictured, are working to add name plates to the unmarked graves around Clyde River. The pair have already ordered 32 name plates for community members, and have plans for another shipment soon. Photo courtesy of Jocelyn Kautuk

There will soon be far fewer unmarked graves in Clyde River’s cemetery thanks to the efforts of local mother and daughter duo Veronica and Jocelyn Kautuk

The pair have undertaken a new project to help community members obtain personalized name plates for the graves of their loved ones.

“Some of the graves, they’re really old,” said Jocelyn, 21. “We don’t even know who’s who.”

The idea came to Jocelyn on a recent walk through the cemetery.

“I was visiting one of the grave sites here in Clyde River and I noticed that on one of the graves, the family had written the person’s name in marker, and that really broke my heart,” she said.

After doing a bit of research, and learning that personalized name plates can be purchased on Amazon, Jocelyn then used her own money to order one for the family in question, who she said was “very thankful.”

However, roughly half of the graves in town were still without proper identification so, with the help of her mother, she set out to fix the problem.

“I decided I want to do it for other people as well,” she said. “I don’t think a lot of people know how easy it is, or maybe they don’t have the funds to get it, or they don’t know where to order”

The first hurdle was the cost of ordering the name plates. One plate was affordable, but a larger shipment would cost substantially more.

The mother and daughter found a solution to this problem by hand-delivering letters explaining their project to businesses and organizations around town.

Less than a week later, they received a response—and $1000 of support—from the Clyde River Housing Association.

From there, the pair spread the word about the project on Facebook, and soon, interested parties began reaching out to Veronica, who passed the information on to Jocelyn.

The pair made their first large order—32 name plates all told—on the weekend of Aug. 18, and are expecting the shipment to arrive sometime in the following two weeks.

People are grateful for the Kautuks’ efforts, Jocelyn said.

“They have been very thankful,” she said. “They mentioned that they’re really appreciative.”

Jocelyn and Veronica have plans to order another shipment of name plates in the near future, and will continue to have more delivered to the community so long as the need exists.

“We’re just taking it as it goes right now,” she said. “It all depends on if families come up to us and request them.”

While Jocelyn and Veronica are motivated by a desire to help their community, both agreed that it will feel “awesome” to wander through the cemetery in a few months time, and see new name plates adorning crosses that were formerly indiscernible from each other.

“It will be great to see our work pay off,” Jocelyn said. “It will be great to see [the graves] with name plates and give people their names back.”



About the Author: Tom Taylor

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