Friday, November 24, 2017

TOP STORY >> Wreaths of Honor at vets’ gravesites

Leader staff writer

The Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery Beautification Foundation is working to place Christmas wreaths at each of the 8,080 gravesites as part of the Wreaths of Honor program at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in Sherwood, 1501 Maryland Ave.

Board member Cynde Maddox said, “We were able to purchase 6,000 faux wreaths for the discounted price of $1 each through the nonprofit Christmas Honors in Fort Smith. The cemetery foundation needs to raise $10,000 to purchase 2,000 faux wreaths for $5 at the store for all the graves. The wreaths can be stored and displayed for several years.”

A wreath-laying ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16. At 2 p.m., a ceremony for live wreaths purchased through Wreaths Across America will be held. Live wreaths will be placed at the requested gravesite instead of artificial ones.

Last year, the Wreaths Across America committee raised $94,000 and placed a live wreath at 7,000 veterans’ grave sites. The wreaths cost $15, and $5 goes to a local organization such as Arkansas Run For the Fallen. This year, local organizations decided not to form a Wreaths Across America committee and raised $100,575 for live wreaths for all the gravesites at the Sherwood cemetery.

“Wreaths of Honor is not in competition with the Wreaths Across America program. We’re here to honor veterans and no veteran will be forgotten,” Maddox said.

The foundation received donations for wreaths from Nabolz Construction, Arkansas Federal Credit Union and Entergy. CompleteCare donated warehouse space to store the artificial wreaths.

Logistic Services transported the wreaths from Fort Smith to the cemetery.

State Rep. Karilyn Brown (R-Sherwood) said, “We are appreciative that people care, that they want to do something special. It is a small way to honor them.”

Donations can be sent to ASVCBF Wreaths of Honor, P.O. Box 6648, Sherwood, Ark. 72120. For more information, contact Cynde Maddox at 501-837-2162.

Wreaths Across America will participate with live wreath placement at 8,500 gravesites of the 22,000 veterans buried at Little Rock National Cemetery, as well as for all plots at Fayetteville National Cemetery and Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery at Birdeye (Cross County).