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Chandler citizens are coming together to help preserve a community staple

Posted at 10:34 PM, Nov 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-04 08:05:33-04

There's a small cemetery with a lot of Arizona history, nestled in a housing community in Chandler. Over the years, many names have been lost, and there's a big push from the community to keep it clean and preserved. 

It's called the Goodyear-Ocotillo Cemetery. It's a small plot of land in the middle of Fulton Ranch. 

When it was built back in 1916, it was the original town of the Goodyear Tire company. 

"Growing cotton and they used cotton inside of the tires and it was the first master planned community," said real estate expert Mindy Jones Navarez.

Navarez has done a lot of research on the community cemetery, where many workers and immigrants are buried. 

But over time, many names have been lost. 

"When the operations moved to west valley, the city was pretty much gone and what you have here is pretty much all that's left," said Navarez.

If anyone suspects they have a loved one buried here, Mindy refers them to the Chandler Historical Society or the Romero family, who are the ancestors of the original caretaker. 

But time has taken its toll, and they need help maintaining it. 

"You feel a connection because we all come here to do better," said Victor Dozal, who lives in the community. 

Dozal's son came here to clean it up as part of his boy scouts project. 

"Immigrants who were buried here worked on the cotton fields," said Dozal. "I'm an immigrant myself, so I can relate."

And while many markers have no names, the hard word and sacrifice is being preserved. 

"I'ts really nice to be able to share history about where we live," said Navarez. "It's the example of how the new and the old can co-exist."

Many different organizations volunteer and do maintenance to keep the cemetery cleaned up.

Another boy scouts troop will be back Saturday morning.