Ves Vukovic will provide headstones to families in need.

Everyone deserves a name, Surrey carver says

Ves Vukovic is donating granite headstones to those at rest in unmarked graves in city cemeteries.

Last year, Ves Vukovic found out a good friend of his was dead.

To make matters worse, although his Serbian buddy was buried in Surrey, Vukovic couldn’t find where he was laid to rest.

After a lengthy hunt, Vukovic eventually found his friend’s grave, only to see that it had no marker.

Vukovic said his grief was compounded by the discovery his friend was buried with such anonymity. So he went to work on a nice piece of granite to create a headstone.

It was a year later when Anita Briscoe’s older brother Jason died of cancer at the age of 46.

Because of another illness, Jason had been collecting disability income, and was buried by the provincial government under a new program for people in need.

In September, Briscoe found out her brother was buried without a grave marker.

“It made me feel my promise to him wasn’t complete,” said Briscoe, who arranged for a Catholic mass in Vancouver. She had vowed to give him a proper burial.

Anita Briscoe“(The grave) was still not marked, it was basically grass,” she said .

The family couldn’t begin closure on his loss until the matter was resolved, so Briscoe was determined to work extra shifts in order to save the money for a marker.

“At this point, you’re exhausted,” Briscoe said, adding the two-and-a-half years dealing with her brother’s cancer, arranging for services, and taking care of bills as they trickled in was just about all she could bear.

Then City of Surrey Cemetery Services Manager Anna Terrace called Briscoe (left, with her brother’s new headstone), and said the city and a private contractor were launching a program to install grave markers for free.

That program became possible through Vukovic, who is providing the markers to the city at no cost.

“He deserves his name,” Vukovic said in an interview Monday. “Every person deserves to be perpetuated.”

He later realized there were hundreds of people in the city buried in similar fashion because their loved ones couldn’t afford a gravestone.

As a professional carver, Vukovic decided to help rectify that.

“This is how I can really express myself in the community,” said Vukovic, who estimates he’ll carve about 15 a year.

It takes about four hours to make each stone.

While he’s taking care of the cost of the markers moving forward, Vukovic is unable to provide stones for existing unmarked graves in Surrey.

So the city is also launching a second program to solicit community donations to enable the manufacture of memorial markers for the 350 unmarked graves currently  in Surrey’s three civic cemeteries.

This program is expected to launch that fund raising drive in early 2014

 

Just Posted

Hands Against Racism takes over Surrey City Hall

Event included music, dance; two people received awards

Surrey couple visits the Philippines each year to give back to wife’s former village

Nissa and Bob Clarkson give toys to children, provide medical-dental missions

Upbeat White Rock concert blends ecology, history

The Wilds and Tiller’s Folly raise ‘Voices for the Salish Sea’

South Surrey mother guilty of second-degree murder in death of daughter

Lisa Batstone ‘took seven decades of Teagan’s life’

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

VIDEO: Vancouver fall to Seattle in Game 2 of the playoffs

Thunderbirds topple the Giants 4-1 in Langley, evening the Western Conference series one game each

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Vancouver-bound transit bus involved in fatal crash near Seattle

One man was killed and a woman injured in crash with bus purchased by TransLink

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Most Read

l -->