Volunteers needed to place wreaths

Published 9:14 pm Thursday, November 29, 2018

As the holiday season nears, the Horton Wreath Society is gearing up for its annual wreath-laying at the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery on Dec. 15.

There is nothing small about the event, as it features large numbers of both wreaths and volunteers.

This year, the society will be placing thousands of live evergreen wreaths at each of the gravesites, and the number has increased from last year.

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“Last year we placed 8,000 wreaths, and according to Dan (Kemano) we are placing approximately 9,000 this year,” Horton Wreath Society spokesman Donn Zwirn said, referring to the cemetery director. “That’s why we need volunteers.”

While the event always seems to have a lot of volunteers, the weather typically dictates how many people show up. In the past, when the weather has been warm, Zwirn said they have seen almost 5,000 volunteers, but the numbers quickly dwindle when the temperature drops.

Zwirn is hoping for at least 2,000 to 3,000 volunteers this year.

Some of his favorite volunteers are the Boy and Girl Scouts and active duty military members.

“We really like for the Scouts, both boys and girls, to come out,” Zwirn said. “We want the youth to know what the veterans did for the country.”

No parking is allowed at the cemetery, but the wreath society will provide a shuttle from King’s Fork High School. The shuttle service will begin at 7 a.m.

Volunteers can drop off others at the back gate of the cemetery on Lake Prince Drive, but the drivers will still have to go to King’s Fork High School to take a shuttle to the cemetery.

While at the cemetery, handicapped volunteers will have golf carts provided for them, if necessary.

The event starts at 9 a.m. with the laying of the ceremonial row of wreaths, and family members will have the next chance to lay wreaths on their loved one’s gravesites at 9:30 a.m. Volunteers will follow after.

After all of the wreaths have been placed, the Horton Wreath Society will conduct a formal ceremony at the committal shelter. Part of the ceremony will feature guest speaker Rear Adm. Charles W. Rock. Rock is the commander of the Navy Mid-Atlantic Region.

Brheanna Berry will be the master of ceremonies for the event. Berry is a former member of the Virginia Army National Guard and currently a reporter for WTKR.

The event is important for many reasons, but Zwirn believes it’s important for those buried in the cemetery that do not have family around.

“There are a lot of people buried there that have no more family in the area, or their family died out. No one visits them there, and the wreath shows that someone was there and took the time with them. I hope when I’m there, someone lays a wreath on my site.”

For more information, visit www.hortonwreathsociety.webs.com.