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Abandoned Cemetery Gives Renewed Life To Inmates

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A piece of history is helping local inmates change their future for the better.

About two years ago, Sergeant Bill Glaze of the Gloucester County Department of Corrections was riding down Oldmans Creek Road in Swedesboro, New Jersey when something odd on the side of the road caught his eye.

"I noticed a tombstone, sticking out through all the weeds," he said.

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After a little investigating, Sergeant Glaze found out that tomb was one of about two dozen, and the location was Ebenezer Cemetery, a grave site used from the 1830's to the 1880's that had long since been forgotten.

Graveyard Cleanup 9-25 JC_frame_12331
(credit: CBS)

"It was well overgrown, a lot of trash and stuff in here," Glaze said. "Our officers came in with our work crew for the inmates, they came out and just started cutting things down."

Nick Ballistreri is currently serving time at Salem County jail for a DUI. He says by helping to transform this lot, it's helping him transform his life.

"It makes me feel like you can make a change, you can do things differently," Ballistreri said. "Doing stuff like this makes you realize everything is not about you, you can get out there, help other people, do things for your community."

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Sergeant Glaze says neighbors are stopping by the site as they pay their respects and their appreciation for their newly excavated graveyard.

And he's continuing to dig into the history of the graveyard.

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