KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City man has turned a personal journey to restore the gravesites of his family into a bigger mission: restoring the entire cemetery. 

The work started more than a year ago, with a goal to restore the legacies of those already gone while helping families preserve some of the lasting markers of their loved ones.

“Right here, Ernest Lee Stenson, his was completely toppled over. The base was off,” Kurt Jordan, who is restoring the Greenwick cemetery, said as he walked the grounds.

Jordan is retired, but with this, he’s found a new line of work.  

“Many of the markers that were in disarray, they were beautiful markers but just had been broken and fallen over, over time,” Jordan said.

What started as repairing the gravestone of his great-great-grandfather, who fought in the Civil War, quickly changed when he saw the legacies and the history of so many lives being trampled over.

“We have an obligation to just preserve history and the legacy of these people,” Jordan said.

So, he got to work, first going to classes to learn what he needed to know. Now the work consists of digging up old gravestones, putting them back together and standing them back up.

More than 200 need repair, and he’s already completed the work of restoration on more than 60 markers.

Not only is the work meaningful, it’s important.

“It’s very impactful, especially because he has roots in this area, but he doesn’t live in this area, and now for him to show the interest to come back in, it means a lot to the whole community,” Fritz Hegeman, an Andrew County Commissioner, said. 

“When the county assumes it, we don’t have the resources where we can attend to it, give it the kind of attention that it needs,” Hegeman said.

“It’s hard work for one, at the same time, incredibly rewarding,” Jordan said.

Throughout this process, Jordan has already heard back from some of the families who are appreciative of this work.