CLAY TOWNSHIP — A local resident is honoring veterans this Christmas with a Wreaths Across America ceremony.
Christina White has always been a a huge supporter of veterans and last year while watching a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington Cemetery on television, she learned about Wreaths Across America.
“While I was watching that ceremony on TV last year, the commentator[s] were talking about how you can sponsor your own cemetery,” White said. “The process is real simple, you sign up, they will assign you a liaison and they will help you, give you fundraising ideas and check in with you periodically.”
Wreaths Across America is one of many events the nonprofit hosts each year to honor and remember veterans.
“Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, our mission to remember, honor and teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as more than 2,500 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states at sea and abroad,” according to the website.
White said she always knew the event took place at Arlington Cemetery, but believed that was the only place the event occurred. Once she learned anyone could organize a ceremony she knew she wanted to do it.
White started organizing a ceremony followed by the laying of wreaths at Providence Cemetery on Saturday, December 18 at noon.
“Our community has been overwhelmingly responsive,” White said. “People are more than generous with their donations.”
White said the church with Providence Cemetery has also been supportive.
“As soon as I explained about the project and what was going on, and they saw my passion for it, they were more than willing. They were like, go, do what you need to do,” White said.
White said money donated goes towards purchasing wreaths that will be laid on the gravesites of veterans.
“I send it [donation check] in with some paperwork that was provided by my liaison, and it was credited to our account,” White said. “And then the wreaths are going to be sent to us.”
Thanks to 18 businesses and individual donations, White said she has 106 wreaths to lay at Providence Cemetery. She will also be visiting other cemeteries, making it a total of 130 wreaths being laid in Gallia County.
“I’m traveling to several other cemeteries after our ceremony to lay what’s called, grave specific wreaths,” White said. “Someone has ordered one or has ordered a wreath for their family member that is not within Providence Cemetery.”
White hopes to make this an annual event and even take on more cemeteries.
“My goal is to let other people in our local area know, you can do this at your church, you can do this at your own family cemetery,” White said. “You don’t have to be an expert fundraiser to be able to do this, Wreaths Across America provides you [with] all the information that you need to be successful.”
White said her goal is to one day cover the entire county.
“This is a wonderful, wonderful organization and my goal is to not only bring attention to this project, but then to try to encourage people to take this on themselves,” White said.
White said anyone who would like to participate and help lay wreaths can simply show up at the cemetery for the ceremony.
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