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(WASHINGTON) — With the National Park Service hamstrung by furloughs, a South Carolina man took it upon himself Wednesday to do some grounds keeping at the Lincoln Memorial.

Chris Cox was pushing a lawnmower and toting a chainsaw on the north side of the monument, doing the landscaping work that Park Service employees would normally do.

“The building behind me serves as a moral compass not only for the country but for the world,” Cox said. “And over my dead body are we going to let this deteriorate.”

Cox felt the memorial should not be neglected.

“We got men coming here to see these memorials in wheelchairs carrying respirators. They had hand to hand combat with the Nazi’s. Come on man, this is a no-brainer to keep this area clean for them,” he said. “I’ve emptied hundreds of trash cans. I’ve cut up branches that have fallen during storms in these handicapped access roads,” Cox said.

The U.S. Park Police told ABC News that Cox was “told to leave and he left.” Cox was not arrested or fined for violating the official closure of the monument, said Sgt. Paul Brooks. He did not finish moving the grass around the Lincoln Memorial, Brooks said.

However, many people who saw Cox at work thanked him for his efforts and even tried to pay him.

“I’ve had people walk by and hand me $2 here and $5 there and I say no I’m not homeless, I’m out here working,” Cox said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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