Volunteer Voices: Getting to Know Oakland Volunteer Loran Crabtree

Oakland Cemetery relies on the incredible energy, dedication, and generosity of over two hundred volunteers. Working in the gardens, giving tours, staffing the Visitor Center, or giving countless hours at special and private events, Oakland volunteers never fail to amaze with their passion and commitment. Weve asked some of Oaklands volunteers to share their stories of how they became involved as Oakland volunteers and their experiences here.

Meet Loran Crabtree

Loran serving as a tour guide at Oakland Cemetery.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m 28 years old and born and raised in the metro Atlanta area (Atlanta and Forsyth County.) I’ve been a police officer for the last six years. My family has been in the City of Atlanta since the 1870s. My great, great, great grandfathers on both sides served in the Civil War. My great uncle was an Atlanta police officer who was killed in the line of duty in 1902.

How did you get involved in volunteering at Oakland?
I was interested in local Atlanta history and a friend of mine mentioned Oakland was hosting a volunteer orientation… and the rest, as they say, is history. I volunteer at Oakland because local Atlanta history is very important to me. Having the Crabtree side of my family live and prosper in Atlanta since the 1870s makes it a special place for me. Volunteering at Oakland ensures that the people buried here won’t be forgotten and neither will their stories. Oakland is also a very relaxing place to me. With the stress of my job and life in general, I need an outlet that is relaxing and volunteering at Oakland does this for me.

What do you do at Oakland?
I’m mainly a tour guide but I work in the Visitors Center & Museum Shop, and I work at the Foundation’s special events. I also independently research Oakland and the cemetery’s residents. I love being around the other volunteers and networking with them. I also enjoy meeting the guests who come to Oakland and conversing with them.

What is your favorite Oakland experience or moment?
This would be a tie between portraying a Confederate soldier for the Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tour and meeting some of Captain William A. Fuller’s descendants. At Capturing the Spirit of Oakland in 2015, I read the roll call of Confederate dead. I met Capt. Fuller’s descendants one day when I was working in the Visitors Center. A lady came in and as we started talking, it turned out she was Capt. Fuller’s great, great granddaughter. We discussed the Great Locomotive Chase, and she even described to me remembering when the Fuller family cemetery was dug up and moved to make way for a Shoney’s.

If you are interested in volunteering at Historic Oakland Cemetery, want to be considered for our January 2018 new volunteer orientation, or want to know more about what our volunteers do, please e-mail Richard Harker, Director of Special Events and Volunteers, rharker@oaklandcemetery.com or call 404-688-2107.