Horton wreath funds sought

Published 10:23 pm Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Graves at the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery on Milners Road are adorned with fresh wreaths last year. The Horton Wreath Society is gearing up to raise funds for the effort again this year.

Most Suffolk residents are just beginning to think about how they’ll carve their pumpkins this year, but Jeanne Banks already is looking ahead to Christmas — and she’s worried that things are looking a little bit lean this year.

Banks is the chair of the Horton Wreath Society, which raises money each year to place evergreen wreaths on every grave at the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery on Milners Road during the month of December.

With more burials happening every day at the cemetery, more and more money is needed each year to get enough wreaths.

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“No matter what’s happening now, we cannot forget our history,” Banks said. “Part of our history involves sending our young people to war. The cost is just astronomical. They pay with their lives.”

This is the fourth year the society has collected funds to place fresh wreaths throughout the cemetery. Since last year, the number of gravesites used there has increased by more than 20 percent. To place a wreath on each of those gravesites, the society has set a goal of $28,690 for 3,375 wreaths.

“We feel like we’re going to get a wreath that has cost a little bit less than in the past,” Banks said. “It’s still a lot of wreaths and a lot of money.”

The society has no corporate sponsor and relies solely on donations from individuals and civic clubs.

Banks said the society has budgeted for the estimated burials between now and Dec. 10, when the wreaths will be placed, as well as the estimated burials throughout the remainder of the Christmas season.

The wreaths will be placed on Dec. 10 beginning at 9:30 a.m., with a ceremony to follow at noon. The ceremony will feature guest speakers, music and a procession from the committal shelter to the last row of graves, where active-duty members from each branch of the service will place wreaths on the remaining headstones. All are welcome.

“I’m sure we have enough people here in the Tidewater area who appreciate what our military community does every day and that we will meet our goal,” Banks said. “If everyone gave just one dollar, what a wonderful thing that would be.”

Contributions may be sent to SunTrust Bank, 123 N. Main St., Suffolk, VA 23434. Checks should be made out to the Horton Wreath Society. For more information, visit www.hortonwreathsociety.webs.com.