Business Feature: Portales woman cares for graves

Debbie Vinson is the owner of Graves Remembered, which she calls a service more than a business.

Vinson’s story begins with the death of her father, who wanted his remains to be buried with his grandfather in Douglas, Ariz.

When Vinson went to visit his grave, she was devastated to see that her dad’s grave site was in poor condition.

“That one time…just going down there that one time, oh, I just cried, it was so sad to see it in that condition,” Vinson said.

The grave site was overgrown with weeds. Settling dirt left holes near the head stone and there were no flowers, she said. Vinson said she wished there was someone she could call to take care of her father’s grave and that’s when it hit her she might not be alone in the situation.

Thus, the birth of Graves Remembered a year ago.

“Sometimes it is hard when you think about it,” Vinson said about families taking care of loved ones’ graves when they live far away or even close.

“I’ve done a (grave) out by McAllister, Texas for a friend of mine who lives in Albuquerque,” Vinson said. “Her parents and great-grandparents are buried there.”

Vinson said she likes helping people by taking care of the graves because she gets to meet lots of nice people. She said a 91-year-old Clovis woman in a assisted living facility recently asked her to care for a grave.

“I just couldn’t let her pay me,” Vinson said. “I always take before and after pictures, she kept saying ‘I can’t believe you did this.’”

The woman gave Vinson and her daughter some snacks she had because she wanted to thank them for what they did.

“It is more to help people and certainly not to make money,” Vinson said. “I call it a business, but I guess it is not.”

Graves Remembered weeds, clears leaves and removes litter from the site. They remove old decorations or flowers, trim the grass around the headstone and grave.

Sometimes they give the headstone or memorial a light wash to remove any surface debris and place an arrangement of the client’s choice of flowers.

“My most requested flower is red roses,” she said.