Monday, December 9, 2013

Letter to White Tanks Cemetery

White Tanks Angels Foundation
Miranda Rhuda, Founder & Primary Contact
415 Dewey St., Sandusky, OH  44870

December 10, 2013

To the Caretakers and Office Staff of White Tanks Cemetery:

Hello, my name is Miranda Rhuda.  I am writing this letter to you with the intention of introducing myself and my organization to you. It is my hope that we may be able to build a working relationship between us to better serve the indigents that end up buried at White Tanks Cemetery, as well as the families of those buried there.

After a long journey of searching for my mother, Joyce Patterson, for almost 15 years, I found her- buried at White Tanks Cemetery. My journey has shown me a lot and taught me a few things about the policies and procedures involving White Tanks Cemetery. After being completely appalled by the fact that there are no private markers allowed at the cemetery and the lack of a search to find next of kin for my mother, I became vocal about my journey by blogging my thoughts.  When I published my blog about White Tanks, other families came forward and confirmed that they had also gone through similar issues regarding their loved ones also buried at White Tanks Cemetery.  After I was contacted by the 20th family about their issues regarding the indigent burial process and cemetery of their loved one, I came to the conclusion that something needs to be done to remedy some of these issues and I decided to start my own foundation to help other families cope with the process of finding their loved one at White Tanks Cemetery.

My foundation, the White Tanks Angels Foundation, offers various free services to assist the families of the indigent buried at White Tanks. 
1.      Many of the families (for those buried there) live out of the state of Arizona.  For those families, we offer to have volunteers visit their loved ones grave sites regularly to tend to them and send pictures back home to the family.
2.      We help families gather information surrounding the death of their loved one by contacting the funeral home and public fiduciary to verify the identity of the deceased.
3.      For those who wish to have their loved ones remains moved from White Tanks, cremated or shipped to another state, we help them navigate through the legal processes of permits, etc…
4.      We are currently trying to work with the funeral homes and public fiduciary to get the names of the indigent before they are buried at White Tanks so that we can do a proper search for next of kin in hopes of finding family and giving them the option of other arrangements for their deceased loved one.
5.      Many of the individuals buried at White Tanks Cemetery have been estranged by their families on their own free will.  There are families out there that, like I was, are currently searching for and trying to locate their loved one, not knowing that they have already passed. It is our foundation’s goal to go through and try to find and notify as many families as possible to offer them the much needed closure they are seeking.

Many of the family members who have spoken to our foundation have shared with us how upsetting it is that they were unable to properly pay their respects and say their goodbyes to their loved ones. In addition to that, they are appalled that there are no private markers or shrines allowed to honor the life of their loved one.  We aim to try and see if we can get that changed, if need be.

I am requesting that you please send us a copy of the policies and procedures for White Tanks Cemetery. If you could give us that information it will really help our foundation to clearly and realistically set goals for the foundation services and issues needing attention.

Also, could you please let me know:
1.      Who is in charge of overseeing the landscaping, maintenance and appearance of the cemetery
2.      Who is in charge of implementing and overseeing the policies and procedures
3.      What are the names of the Cemetery Caretaker and/or Office Manager

The quickest and most efficient method of replying would be to send the information via email to the above listed email address. However, you may also send it via mail to the above listed address.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation!

Respectfully signed,

Miranda N. Rhuda 

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