Community Members Grieving, Frustrated After Leon Cemetery Vandalized

LEON, Iowa -- The Leon community is in the process of cleaning up and rebuilding after someone vandalized the Leon Cemetery late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

The veterans’ memorial was almost completely destroyed and several headstones were pushed off their base.

“They might say it’s just a rock. It’s not just a rock. These aren’t just pictures. It isn’t just a memorial. It actually means something to people and we are pretty devastated that this has actually happened,” Leon Police Officer Julie Gfeller said.

Community members said they are truly devastated at the sight of the destruction.

“It’s awful. No respect. Whoever did it had no respect for the dead. And he’s a veteran and that building had the veterans’ names up there and that’s all tore up,” Eleanor Gage said.

American Legion Post 80 Commander Mike Durell said as he surveyed the damage he felt very sad.

“It was a mixture of sadness and anger. I have four generations buried here,” Durell said.

Durell said the veterans’ memorial was nearly destroyed and was recently refurbished.

“There’s a lot of meaning behind it to veterans just like me and I am also a Lion’s Club member and they worked hand in hand with some other organizations and agencies in town to make this what it was,” Durell said.

Durell said he had a personal connection to one of the graves that was vandalized.

“One of them I knew personally and he was a World War II veteran. He and I had several conversations about his experience there in the air corps, so yeah, that touched a vein their, too,” Durell said.

The community is asking for answers.

“It’s sad. You wonder what fun they get out of it. I just hope they catch them,” Gage said.

They are also seeking closure as they start to clean up and rebuild.

“We encourage them, you know, let’s come forward. Let us heal. Let us have some closure in this. Let’s make this as right as we can,” Gfeller said.

If you’d like to help with clean up or reconstruction or if you know anything about the incident, you can contact Leon City Hall at 641-446-6221.

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