For the past 53 years, thousands of people have bequeathed their bodies to the University of Kentucky College of Medicine to further medical training and research.

Sunday afternoon, about 50 first-year UK medical students returned the favor, raking leaves and planting trees and shrubs to beautify Section 36 at Lexington Cemetery, where 2,300 to 2,500 of those donors are buried.

After four sweaty hours of hard work, hands that soon might be delivering babies and performing surgery were black with dirt and mud.

"Trying to give back to these people is the least we can do after all that they did for us," said Ethan Ritter of Pendleton County, community service co-chair for the medical school class.

"We all hope that we won't just have an M.D. after our names after medical school, but we'll be people who actually care about where we are and what we're doing," he said. "There's no better place to get started than in your first year of med school." 

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(This article appeared on - By Jim Warren —