2019 RHODY AWARD WINNERS
Burriville cemetery before
Burriville cemetery after
Antoinette F. Downing Volunteer Service Award
Betty and Carlo Mencucci
Betty and Carlo are longtime Burrillville preservationists who have found their niche conserving historic gravestones.
In 1999, Betty and Carlo Mencucci joined the Burrillville Historical & Preservation Society and quickly rose to leadership positions on the board. They took up building restoration projects, programs, collections, advocacy, videography, research, and fundraising on behalf of the BHPS. In 2007, the indefatigable duo launched a new project to visit Burrillville’s 130 cemeteries, locate gravestones with GPS, document inscriptions, and assess conditions. “We wanted to reset and repair the stones but did not know how,” said Betty, “We set out to learn the correct methods and materials.” They completed professional training and got to work clearing debris, locating missing stones, resetting, and repairing. In the process of conserving nearly 400 historic gravestones across Burrillville, the Mencuccis strive to build relationships with cemetery owners and neighbors, promoting stewardship. Now they are in demand for workshops across Rhode Island. Kudos to Betty and Carlo for carving out a niche as volunteer gravestone conservators.