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Five On Your Side Helps Put Issue Of Broken Headstone To Rest

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Sooner or later, most of us will have to make burial arrangements for a loved one. When a Wake County woman had a problem making sure things were right for her father, she called Five On Your Side for help.

Every part of the burial process is expensive, including the gravestone. That is why many people opt for perpetual care cemeteries -- if something breaks, the cemetery takes care of repairs.

As Lisa Pennywell found out, it is not always that easy.

Pennywell's father, Marvin Cotton, died 20 years ago when Pennywell was in middle school. At the time, her family could not afford a headstone for Cotton's grave at Carolina Biblical Gardens in Raleigh. Five years ago Pennywell bought one for $1,000.

"It meant the world to be able to do it for him," she said. "It's something I just had to do so that when we came here we didn't just see, you know, just a round metal piece. We would have something with his name and birthday on it."

Pennywell said everything was fine until Father's Day 2001.

"My brothers and I came to bring flowers and I noticed how [the headstone] was sinking in. I've noticed the crack here and then I noticed the vase -- how it's all twisted up," Pennywell said.

She said it looks like something ran over the stone, like a mower, cracking the granite.

The next day, Pennywell went to Carolina Biblical Gardens to tell caretakers about the damage. She said nothing was done about it.

"I kept making calls. I kept coming back. I kept looking and it still wasn't repaired," Pennywell said.

A year later, she said the marker still was not fixed.

"I was told in June it would be in the middle of August. I was told in the middle of August, it would be the end of August. Then I got to September. That's when I had absolutely had it. I kept coming back and seeing that it had not been taken care of," Pennywell said.

Pennywell called Five On Your Side. After a call to Carolina Biblical Gardens, manager Len Primus immediately ordered a replacement marker saying "somebody dropped the ball."

Pennywell agreed and is thankful her persistence paid off.

"I feel like if this is all I can do for my dad, I want it taken care of," she said.

A spokesman for Carolina Biblical Gardens said company records show a complaint from June, but nothing prior to that. Regardless, he said it still too long to resolve the matter.

The marker was shipped a week ago and will be installed as soon as possible.


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