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Keokuk resident makes a pledge to redo cemetery roads

A Keokuk resident is taking matters into his own hands after he noticed the roads in a local cemetery were making it hard to get around, especially when he was trying to go visit his granddaughter’s grave.

Dan Hickey owns Hickey Contracting in Keokuk so fixing up roads is something he’s used to. However, dealing with the loss of his granddaughter earlier this year threw a wrench into things. Now he’s trying to fix up not only the area around her grave-site, but the whole cemetery in general the best way he knows how.

“She had fetal to maternal hemorrhage,” said Hickey.

Hickey spends a lot of time at Oakland Cemetery ever since his granddaughter, Nora, passed away earlier this year.

“It hit us all really hard,” said Hickey.

Hickey is now channeling his grief into a force for change by fixing up the roads where she’s buried.

“I thought if i could do anything to make this part of my world better, I’m going to,” said Hickey.

Hickey laid down about 400 feet of cement on his own in front of Nora’s grave. He even etched her name and date of birth into the ground.

But before he did any more work, Hickey decided to run it by the city.

“It’s a tremendous gift,” said Keokuk City Administrator Cole O’Donnell.

O’Donnell admits the roads in Oakland Cemetery aren’t up to par.

“The roads in the cemetery get pushed down the priority list because the population it affects on a daily basis is smaller than other things we do,” said O’Donnell.

When Hickey approached them saying he wanted to fix it up, O’Donnell says the city decided to dedicate $50,000 for the project.

“For him to come in and volunteer to do some of this, really helps us out and we’re very thankful for that,” said O’Donnell.

For Hickey, it’s about making the time we spend with our loved ones a memorable one.

“I hope you don’t have to experience it but when it’s your granddaughter or your grandson, that changes your perspective a little bit,” said Hickey. “I spend quite a bit of time up here now. It’s important to me. We miss her.”

O’Donnell says $50,000 isn’t going to go very far when laying cement. He says it may get them about 300 feet of pavement. However, Hickey says he’s committed to this project, even if that means using his own time and money to redo as much of the road as he can.

Kaylee Pfeiferling

Multimedia Journalist

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