Volunteers and Marines are in a constant battle against nature's inexorable tide. "Acres and acres of this cemetery literally were under jungle," says Warr.
Eventually, leader Alice Jackson says, the group hopes to be able to provide perpetual care for the entire cemetery.
With a $15,000 budget, the cemetery preservation group depends on monthly work parties that draw a range of volunteers, including Junior ROTC students. Help has come from community grants, tools and occasional local government and prison maintenance crews. Monthly cleanups have uncovered dozens of graves swallowed by vegetation.
"Progress has been made," says Jackson.
While the preservation group has some records, it doesn't yet have a complete inventory of the graves at Linwood, says Yolanda Latimore, Jackson's daughter.
"It's really hard to tell," she says. "A lot of graves are not marked. Maybe a slab, or maybe a tree. Perhaps a wooden cross or ornament."
Latimore says she would like to see a perimeter fence, a website to raise awareness and the involvement of more young people. There are plans to repair broken grave covers. Latimore's father, brother and other relatives are buried at Linwood.
Some hope the attention to Davis' grave might inspire additional volunteers and prompt the local government, which owns and maintains a nearby cemetery, to do more.
Macon City Council member Larry Schlesinger said the city would like to do more for the historic cemetery, but has been hampered by tight finances during the recession. Better economic times and a current effort to clean up Macon neighborhoods and demolish dilapidated housing should benefit Pleasant Hill, he said.
"Now we have people's attention," Latimore says of the cemetery group's efforts. "We have to use the resources and rich history that is there. We have a lot of work before us."
A war hero's new legacy
Randy Leedom remembers the day the grenade landed in that trench in Vietnam: Rodney Davis was right next to him.
"I jumped to the right," Leedom recalled from his home in Hillsboro, Oregon. Davis crawled on the grenade.
Leedom, who served in Vietnam until April 1968, did not get to know Davis before that day, but he never forgot the sergeant's sacrifice.
A few years ago, Leedom was driving from Florida through Macon and decided to visit the cemetery and Davis' grave. Everything was overgrown, he says.
"You couldn't hardly see the stones," he says. "There was one piece of concrete sunk in, broke in half."
Upset, Leedom contacted Warr, telling him the setting was not suitable for a Medal of Honor recipient.
At about the same time, Jason Greene, a Marine reservist who served in Afghanistan, took part in a flag rededication ceremony at Linwood. He had no idea it was for a Medal of Honor recipient, let alone one who served in the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, as did Greene's father, Dale.
Davis' grave was full of weeds and vegetation, says Jason Greene. A wooden sign overlooking I-75 was in bad shape and letters spelling "USMC" had chipped paint. "It was a nightmare."
With those reports, the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines veterans group sprang into action.
Along with the Montford Point Marine Association, a national group primarily made up of African-American veterans, the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines veterans take part in twice-annual work parties at Linwood Cemetery, attracting workers from across the country.
They largely concentrate on Davis' resting place and surrounding graves, clearing weeds and tall grass.
The veterans group decided to replace the rundown, wooden sign with an enduring monument to Davis, says Warr, who lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina. He never personally knew Davis, having served in Vietnam after his death.
The Marines are giving $5,000, from dozens of donations totaling more than $80,000, to the Macon Cemetery Preservation Corp. for perpetual care of the monument and the surrounding area. Warr says his colleagues will continue their work parties.
The veterans group has also created a scholarship fund of $25,000, in Davis' memory that will benefit graduating Junior ROTC students in Bibb County, where Macon is.
It is helping deepen a bond between Davis' family and the veteran community, and fostering a renewed appreciation for Davis' heroism.
"I would like for his legacy to be one that people understand he gave his all for his country," says Debra Ray. "We as a family are all about service and education."
Howard Davis, another brother of Rodney, took part in a fund-raiser held by the veterans group for the scholarship, saying the event "was one of the proudest times of my life."
Saturday, family, veterans and others who have dedicated themselves to saving Linwood stood on the hillside with a couple hundred other people as cars flew by on I-75 below.
Leedom and Petrous, who fought with Davis, attended the dedication, which coincided with the Marine Corps' 237th birthday and was held the day before Veterans Day.