HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — For the last 12 years, Wreaths For Veterans in the City of Huntsville has been celebrating the holiday season by honoring those who served our country.
Each year, community members gather to create thousands of wreaths to place at each grave site at local cemeteries. But this year — with more wreaths and fewer days — they need a helping hand.
The organization is on a mission to create 4,000 wreaths in four days. The devoted crew has been working all week, but those involved are looking to bring in the next generation of helpers.
With a personal understanding that “freedom’s not free”, Co-founder and Vice President Jennifer Hames says it’s her duty to pay homage to those who have served.
“These guys that we’re putting a wreath on their grave, some of them paid the ultimate price for us,” she explained.
The organization has grown from decorating 500 wreaths in 2007 to placing 4,000 wreaths this year. Their collective drive and determination has helped get the job done each year, and this year will be no different.
The reality is, with children and spouses creating the majority of the wreaths, and with the group growing older, Schmitt wondered, “Who’s going to do it in five years?”
Several volunteers who have been here since the beginning are getting older, making it harder to work as fast.
“Its a very sad thought to think that maybe nobody is going to do it… that the graves from the veterans will not have a wreath on it anymore,” Schmitt said.
Honoring those who have served doesn’t have to stop at loved ones. This year, the organization is encouraging volunteers of all ages to help.
Volunteer For Wreath Preparation
- Thursday, November 3: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Friday, November 4: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Location: Huntsville City Schools (HCS) warehouse behind the HCS Annex at 714 Bob Wallace Avenue
Volunteer For Wreath Placement
- Valhalla Cemetery: Tuesday, November 15 at 9:30 a.m.
- Maple Hill Cemetery: Wednesday, November 16 at 9:30 a.m.
Volunteer For 2023 Wreath Collection
- Valhalla Cemetery: Tuesday, January 10 at 9:30 a.m.
- Maple Hill Cemetery: Wednesday, January 11 at 9:30 a.m.