Wreath society nears goal

Published 12:04 am Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Wreath Society has nearly reached its goal for fundraising this year, but Jeanne Banks, chair of the effort, is quick to warn that doesn’t mean there is no more need for money.

“Every dollar that’s over will stay in the bank until next year,” Banks said. “With the world being as it is, we’ll still have to put wreaths out next year.”

The Wreath Society collects donations and volunteers every year to place a wreath at every gravesite in the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk during the Christmas season. If there is not enough money to meet that goal, the entry drive to the cemetery is lined with wreaths, and the remainder of the money carried over to the next year.

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That won’t be necessary this year, Banks said, thanks to the incredible generosity of hundreds of people.

“I am confident that by the time the wreaths come in this weekend, that we’re going to have enough money,” Banks said. “It’s just plain people giving. The smallest gift has been $1 and the largest has been $1,000.”

In addition to the outpouring of generosity, the organization now has a storage building for the wreaths, as well as plenty of volunteers to place wreaths on Dec. 12 at 9:30 a.m. at the cemetery. Still, Banks added, anybody is welcome to come help place wreaths, and to attend the memorial service at 11 a.m.

“I think we’ll have a good turnout,” Banks said. “Please come on out.”

Banks added the project could never have been a reality without the work of Ray Bennett, of Ray’s Florist, and Gail Williams, who is responsible for the funds at SunTrust.

“They stepped right up the first time I asked them would they be involved,” Banks said. “Both have gone the second mile.”

To donate money to help purchase wreaths, send contributions to SunTrust Bank, 123 Main St., Suffolk, VA 23434. Checks may be made out to “Wreath Society,” and envelopes should have “Wreath Society” on the front.