June 13, 2018 10:59 PM
A Cottage Grove family says mementos at the gravesite of their late son were thrown away by cemetery staff.
They tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they were given notice of the new policy, but it wasn't clear enough.
Adam Fournelle died two years ago, and his family loved decorating his gravesite with all sorts of things that brought them joy.
But now they say those possessions from Adam's life are gone, and they're blaming the Cottage Grove Cemetery Association.
"This is a gravesite, people come here for a lot of reasons," said Adam's father Dave Fournelle.
"When we came out here, it just gave us really nice comfort."
Dave Fournelle buried his son at the cemetery two years ago, and he said Adam's hockey stick, fishing rod and other mementos sat by his headstone for more than a year with the approval of the caretaker.
A Cottage Grove family is upset because they say cemetery staff threw away mementos at their son’s gravesite.— Brett Hoffland (@BrettHoffland) June 14, 2018
Tonight on @KSTP an emotional father shares his frustrations with the cemetery association. pic.twitter.com/d9yU2qwQga
"It was just a nice little tribute to him," he said. "They meant a lot. That's why we put them up."
But about a month ago, Fournelle received a letter from the Cottage Grove Cemetery Association saying that on June 9 "they will remove items that have not been approved by the cemetery board."
According to a sign on the property, memorial rules list only shrubs or bushes of any kind as items not specifically allowed.
"We're kind of looking around the cemetery here, saying there's a lot more people who have a lot more stuff than we do, and we kind of figured that because we had verbal approval to put the hockey stick up that we would be okay," Fournelle said.
But they weren't.
"I was rather upset," Fournelle said. "I just thought it was disrespectful that they would just throw it away."
Signs in the cemetery remind people of the rule change.
But Fournelle is confused as to why the letter he received wasn't more specific when it came to explaining which items aren't allowed.
"Given a chance, I would have taken the stuff down and it would have been fine," Fournelle said. "It's going to be different now because we can't have those things."
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to multiple members of the Cottage Grove Cemetery board.
They either didn't return our calls, or declined to comment for the story.
Updated: June 13, 2018 10:59 PM
Created: June 13, 2018 08:02 PM
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