NAMI - Athens, An Affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Ohio








A Memorial Day to Remember - 2013 Ridges Ceremony

May 2013




Since 2000, the Ridges Cemeteries Committee has been working to refurbish and beautify the cemeteries and, in so doing, restore dignity to the deceased and fight stigma against their living counterparts. Since 2005, the Committee has made sure that Memorial Day is celebrated there, too.





The 2013 ceremony - which took place in a tent under the pines in Cemetery Two - was very moving.  There was a general invocation by NAMI Ohio President, former State Senator Bob Spada. Then there was a eulogy and wreath laying by NAMI Ohio CEO Terry Russell for Civil War Veteran Casper Lewis. Finally, there was a eulogy and wreath laying by NAMI Ohio activists Marsha and Dan Knapp for Helen Louise Schob Tilton. Six members of Louise's family - two sisters, a brother-in-law, a niece, nephew-in-law, and a grandniece - participated in the wreath laying. It was loving closure for the family and a moving underscoring of the humanity of Louise and all those buried in these Cemeteries.


The dignity and solemnity of the ceremony were underscored by other groups and individuals. VFW Post 7174 of The Plains acted as color guard and did the 21-gun salute.  Sharell Arocho, a singer with a powerful Aretha Franklin-like voice, sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic and America the Beautiful during the wreath laying. And Vietnam War Vet Caroline Cade did Taps. 




In large part, our Memorial Day ceremonies are stigma-busters in behalf of persons with mental illness and are deliberately designed to attract media attention. In that respect, this year's event was a success in that it was the subject an article with photo in the Athens News.


As she normally is, State representative Debby Phillips was in attendance.  Mayor Paul Wiehl was unable to attend, but acting Mayor Jim Sands was at the ceremony.






Contact NAMI - Athens
Appalachian Behavioral Health Care, 100 Hospital Drive, Athens OH 45701
Phone: 740-593-7424   e-mail: