St. Marys community helps purchase wreaths for every veteran's grave


    Officials said the cemetery has over 2,000 veterans from all branches of the military. (WJAC)

    A cemetery in Elk County has been a long-time participant of the national wreath-laying ceremony: Wreaths Across America.

    "I think every veteran needs to be honored and this is just a great way to honor them," said Dolly Wehler.

    Wehler is responsible for bringing the ceremony to the St. Marys Catholic Cemetery in 2008.

    In past years, Wehler said only about half of the veterans got a wreath through family and friends purchasing them.

    For this year's 10th anniversary, Wehler wanted to do something special.

    "This year with the help of others we are able to get a wreath for every veteran and it's like this is what we wanted from day one," Wehler said.

    Officials said the cemetery has over 2,000 veterans from all branches of the military.

    "The day before Thanksgiving Wehler told me we were 600 wreaths short of her goal," said organizer Joann Struble. "She said 'I don't think we are going to make it' and I said 'We have to!'"

    Volunteers set out and asked local businesses, clubs and individuals for donations to make the idea a reality.

    "Once we started telling the people what it was, it was easy," said Struble. "The generosity in this town is unbelievable that we could raise that kind of money."

    Each wreath costs $15.

    Officials said the ceremony takes place Dec. 15 at noon.

    "We will have a representative from all the branches, Father Ross will be putting the ceremony on and we'll also have children from one of the local parishes singing that day," said organizer Sally Wilson. "We invite the whole community to come out."

    The ceremony will be held at the same time as the Arlington National Cemetery's ceremony.



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