Many of us can relate to the exhausting hours of a full time job. And by today’s standards, the term “full time” lives up to its name.
In fact, a 2014 Gallup.com poll found that “adults employed full time in the U.S. report working an average of 47 hours per week, almost a full workday longer than what a standard five-day, 9-to-5 schedule entails. [Moreover], half of all full-time workers indicate they typically work more than 40 hours, and nearly four in 10 say they work at least 50 hours.”
Now tack on the bonus of being self-employed, and any entrepreneur will tell you those hours easily increase by another 25%.
And that is why we now introduce you to a Florida resident named Andrew Lumish. Lumish is a self-employed carpet cleaner who gets only one day off a week if he’s lucky. But instead of catching up on sleep, errands, chores around the house, or time with friend and family, he spends most of his Sundays using his cleaning skills to honor veterans and their families.
In short, he cleans dozens of veterans’ tombstones every week. He isn’t hired for the work, and he doesn’t know any of these veterans personally. So why does he do it, you ask? Simply to give them the respect he believes they rightfully deserve.
“The tombstones themselves are typically in poor condition,” explains Lumish in an ABC interview. “The most disturbing part for me was the poor condition of monuments of veterans of this country. They were in such terrible condition and it … upset me. It’s something that I feel I should do to give them the proper respect for fighting for our country.”
Lumish isn’t just using your run-of-the-mill household cleaners either. He has done his homework and only uses products designed for the safe cleaning of slate, marble, limestone, and granite.
Technically what he is doing is not exactly legal, and could easily be considered trespassing. But Lumish goes on to say that “it’s a good kind of trespassing. And I’ll take that all day.”
And despite the fact it has been almost three years since Lumish started visiting cemeteries, he has never been chased away.
Lumish has enjoyed the experience so much that it also fuels his passion for history. He regularly researches the stories of each lost veterans, some of which gave their life as far back as the Civil War.
“These aren’t just stones sitting in a cemetery in Florida. These are real people [and] I think about their lives.”
And that is why America’s Footprints is proud to spotlight the Footprint that Andrew Lumish is now leaving behind.