Wreath society meets goal

Published 9:56 pm Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Just days after a press conference intended to boost floundering support for an annual event to honor veterans during the Christmas season, the organization in charge of the effort brought in more than $15,000 and made its goal, its president said.

Horton Wreath Society President John Tutunjian said every gravesite and each columbarium row will have a wreath at the annual event on Dec. 14 at the Albert J. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery on Milners Road.

“It worked,” he said. “We made our goal for this year, and we’re now starting to raise funds for next year.”

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Tutunjian said a third of the needed amount came from one donor, a former Marine Corps master sergeant. He said the $5,000 check was “by far the largest we’ve ever received.”

A number of other large donations came in, he added, and many donations ranging from about $20 on up swelled the organization’s mailbox.

Facing a Monday deadline to order the evergreen wreaths, the organization had called a Friday press conference to appeal to the public for donations. The fundraising goal was met by Tuesday.

“It’s based on the generosity of a large number of people we were able to reach the goal,” Tutunjian said. “We are extremely grateful to those people who have and continue to support the organization.”

About 5,200 wreaths are needed for this year’s ceremony, an increase from last year because of new burials — mostly World War II veterans.

Looking ahead to next year, Tutunjian said the group welcomes donations year-around.

“Unfortunately, due to the fact there’s going to be another thousand or 1,200 (gravesites) for next year, we can’t rest on our laurels,” he said.

Donations can be mailed to the following address: Horton Wreath Society Treasurer, 1401 Trapelo Court, Virginia Beach, VA 23456. For more information, visit hortonwreathsociety.webs.com.