- Associated Press - Friday, December 26, 2014

DENVER (AP) - A 10-year-old girl in Canon City has an unusual hobby - decorating inmates’ gravesites.

Jeweleen Reiter says she felt guilty when she saw forlorn markers in a section for prisoners at Greenwood Cemetery in Canon City, home to about a dozen federal and state prisons.

“My mom took me there, she showed me the prisoners, and I guess I felt bad,” Jeweleen told KUSA (https://on9news.tv/1x6eikd).

“I feel like they need help,” she said of the inmate graves. “I’m thinking about how I’m making them happier.”

Some of the inmates’ graves at Greenwood were as grim as some of their lives may have been. All the graves are marked with metal rusted markers. At least half don’t have names.

“It should be a happy place,” Jeweleen said. “Color is what we need. I think everyone deserves a little bit of happiness.”

About a year ago, Jeweleen decided to bring some happiness to the inmates by decorating their graves - many nameless - with artificial flowers.

“That one is missing a flower,” she said walking around the cemetery and putting flowers on every headstone. “Those ones over there need work on. I want to see color.”

Color everywhere, but mostly in once place, for one man. The only inmate with a marble headstone.

Joe Arridy was a mentally disabled man wrongfully executed in 1939 for a rape and murder he didn’t commit. Gov. Bill Ritter pardoned Arridy in 2011.

Jeweleen’s efforts have impressed some members of the Greenwood Cemetery Board.

“Every person was important in one way or another,” board member Tom Monaco said.

“Doesn’t matter if they were a housewife or a governor,” he said. “We have both out here.”

Generations apart, Monaco and a 10-year-old see a lot of things the same way.

“We all deserve a little bit of love, (because) we can always ask for forgiveness,” Jeweleen said.


Information from: KUSA-TV, https://www.9news.com

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