Group gathers money for wreaths

Published 9:56 pm Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wreath-laying: Carol McClelland sits beside her husband Harry’s gravestone at last year’s wreath-laying ceremony at the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery. Wreaths, paid for by donations, are placed at the cemetery every year.

More than 4,000 wreaths are needed this year to adorn the graves of veterans at Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery.

The Horton Wreath Society is ramping up its efforts with a goal of collecting $40,000 in donations to put a wreath on every grave for the Christmas season.

“This is so they will not be forgotten, and to teach our children that their freedoms came at a cost, and that cost is right there in front of them,” said Becca Landick, treasurer of the Horton Wreath Society.

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For years, the society has raised money for an ever-increasing number of graves to be decorated with a wreath during December. Volunteers place the wreaths on a Saturday in December, followed by a service with guest speakers.

Landick said the event is a great way to teach young children about the cost of freedom.

“We encourage a lot of youth groups and things to come and join us,” she said. “We have a volunteer that goes out with each child. We ask them to look at the name on this headstone, the insignia, the branch of service, the dates, and to know that man or woman fought for the freedoms we currently enjoy.”

Landick said all expenses for the wreath society — postage, envelopes and printing for fundraising fliers, for example — are covered by volunteers or benefactors so that all public donations go toward the wreaths.

“It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of wonderful volunteers,” she said. “We are sincerely indebted to the community for all that they do for us and for their dedication and support.”

This year’s wreath placement ceremony will be on Dec. 15, with the first wreath being laid at 9:30 a.m. A ceremony will follow at 11:30 a.m.

To donate to the wreath fund, make out a check to Horton Wreath Society and mail it to Horton Wreath Society Treasurer, 1401 Trapelo Court, Virginia Beach, VA 23456.