SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse has been burying our ancestors since 1859.

And in that 160-plus years, as you might imagine, there have been some fallen angels.

Oakwood was built on a hill, next to what would later become Syracuse University. And gravity has been unkind to some of its earliest guests.

Just seems like a shame. That’s somebody’s relative there that, you know, potentially the monument’s gonna fall over.

Mike Woodford

Mike Woodford adopted cemeteries when the Covid pandemic cancelled his hometown Memorial Day parade. First, he got volunteers to clean gravestones. Then, he got to thinking his experience as a contractor might be useful in straightening tilted monuments.

The stone in in perfect shape. Really nothing wrong with the stone. The base that it sat on, you know, it’s on a hillside and things tend to migrate downhill over time, and it was tipping really hard.

Mike Woodford

Mike and his crew set up hydraulic lifts to bring the monument back to plumb. Then, he backfilled the space underneath with a poly-lift material he uses to raise sunken concrete floors.

Mike’s company, Woodford Brothers, did this work as a thank you to the Central New York community. His thanks came when he noticed the first stone they worked on marked the grave of Libbie, wife of Michael Brennan, who died exactly 130 years ago, to the day.

You might say that gave Mike a lift of his own.