Flags broken and sign bent at garden at corner of Maple St. and Whittemore St.
Kathleen Buckley was a lifelong Tewksbury resident who worked at CVS for more than 25 years as a technician. When the opportunity arose for her son, resident JW Buckley, to construct a memorial garden in his neighborhood, he welcomed the chance to honor his mother.
“She died at just 59 from Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” said Buckley. “She loved gardening, and people loved her. So I thought, what better way to remember her and have all of our neighbors who still live around here be reminded of her and her legacy.”
Earlier today when he went by to check the garden, he noticed that both American flags had been broken off and the sign saying “Maintained In Memory of Kathleen M. Buckley” was knocked to the ground, bent and had shoe prints on it from being stepped on. That sign makes it clear that this is a memorial garden for someone’s loved one.
“I don’t think it’s a car going off the road,” said Buckley. “The plants are untouched.”
Buckley and his wife, Jomarie, take part in the town’s “Adopt an Island” program and also maintain and beautify a public space at the East St. and Chandler St. intersection.
“By having a little adopted island, I can do seasonal plantings,” said Buckley. “I had just done our autumn planting on the 15th of September.”
That means the vandalism was recent. There are cameras in the neighborhood, and Buckley is notifying the Tewksbury Police Department. He asks anyone with information to contact the TPD by calling the non-emergency number at (978) 640-4385 or by submitting an anonymous tip.
For now, he’s going to repair the damage, and friends of his mother have reached out and offered to help with the spring planting. He asks residents to take a moment to reflect on the meaning of community and respect.
“People loved seeing the garden, and it made me feel great, people not forgetting my mother, and then to have someone come and do this,” said Buckley. “It’s the lowest, most senseless crime, and it’s not who we are in Tewksbury.”