For the past five years, Wreaths Across America in Greeley has been placing evergreen wreaths on veterans' graves for the holiday season at the same time as Arlington National Cemetery. This year they are including others who have served the community: police, firefighters and emergency services.
“I know some of the police officers out there,” said volunteer Mike Peters. “To see wreaths on their graves is going to mean a lot to me.”
Wreaths Across America’s national organization started about 25 years ago when a man who owned an evergreen company had extra wreaths that he offered and delivered to Arlington National Cemetery. In Northern Colorado, Wreaths Across America started at Linn Grove Cemetery five years ago. The organization now covers Sunset Memorial Gardens, Evans, Eaton, and Grandview in Fort Collins.
“I’m a military brat. My dad was career Army,” said volunteer Linda Peters. “As a part of that, it’s so deeply engrained in me that we do honor those who have served. “
Wreaths Across America doesn’t require a volunteer sign up form or any training. All they ask is that you show up or, if you’d like, sponsor a wreath.
“The wreaths are $15 each and our goal is to have 2,000 wreaths,” said locations coordinator Chris Ruth. “Last year we did 1,300. Our list of veterans that are buried at Linn Grove is over 1,600.”
To help place wreaths in Greeley at Linn Grove Cemetery, Ruth asks that people show up a little before 10 a.m. on Dec. 15. There will be a short ceremony, and then volunteers will be able to place wreaths on veterans’ and first responders’ graves.
Ruth and Linda Peters both stressed that they will not cancel the event due to weather.
“The snow covered the cemetery just like a blanket, and when it was all done you could see footprints going from grave to grave as they placed their wreaths,” said Ruth. “It was just very, very touching to see that those people who would not have been thought of at that time of year were remembered.”
Get Involved Colorado is a series that highlights nonprofit organizations across the state that are looking for volunteers. If you know of an organization that needs an extra set of hands and volunteers with passionate hearts, contact host/producer Karlie Huckels at firstname.lastname@example.org