By Timothy Kays
Over 1,600 locations across the 50 States participate in the Wreaths Across America program. West Unity has been the lone Williams County participant in the annual event to honor veterans, but this year, thanks to the efforts of Tarry Eicher and Michael Frybarger, Montpelier is coming aboard. The task is daunting as Riverside Cemetery, where the event will take place, dwarfs both Rings and Floral Grove Cemeteries…combined. The program involves placing sponsored wreaths upon the graves of American service veterans, and in Riverside Cemetery, there are well over 800 of them.
“This is going to happen on December 14th at 12 noon,” said Tarry “You have to be there before noon. We are going to start putting the wreaths on at noon because this is Wreaths Across America and what it is is that everybody is doing it throughout the United States at the same time, and in sequence.
So we need to start right at 12 o’clock because it is doing it 12 you know, this and this and this and on and on. Michael Frybarger is starting this here in Montpelier, and I’m just underneath his wings to do it for next year.”
“So I’m kind of the co-coordinator right now for this. I know there’s a lot of them and I started out short. I had the Tribute Towers going, and I didn’t really connect with it really fast. So we’re late in the process of getting the wreaths and what it is is $15 per wreath. If you buy two wreaths, you get the third one free.
Wreaths Across America is a national nonprofit organization founded in 2007, that expanded the annual wreath laying ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery began by the main business men named Morrill Worcester in 1982. That’s how it all got started, actually, and it just kept on going and getting bigger and bigger and bigger.
So we need to be out there around 11:30 for volunteers. If you’d like to buy a wreath, please get in contact with me at 419-485-1678 and I have the forms here. The cutoff date for Wreaths Across America is December 2. I have to have the money mailed in before that Thursday which is really close, you know. With Thanksgiving coming upon us, it’s going to be hard to get these mailed out.”
“So if you can get your payment in to pay for the wreath, that would be really great before Thanksgiving if possible to make sure that we get the wreath. These wreaths are to honor and remember a child, a parent, a neighbor, a friend.
What better way to honor the service of our loved ones then remembering their sacrifice at a spot, or by sponsoring the wreath in honor of their memory. And you can go on the website and make a payment through the website on wreathsacrossamerica.org.”
“Tarry came to West Unity’s ceremony last year,” recalled Michael Frybarger, “…and then she asked me if I’d help her get started over there this year. I’m just glad to see another town in Williams County where finally somebody stepped up and said, ‘I’ll coordinate it.’ People just think it’s a big undertaking…it really isn’t that big of an undertaking. I just wish we had some more support from Montpelier; there’s only 41 wreaths sponsored so far. We need 840 whatever, but whatever gets sponsored, we’ll lay.
Michael explained the sponsorship process. “At wreathsacrossamerica.org, up in the top right hand corner there’s a little thing that says ‘menu’. Click on that, and then search locations or groups and put Friends of Riverside in there.”
“The main reason I want everybody to try to go to the Friends of Riverside is because that’s signed up as a ‘three for’ group. For every two that get sponsored, a third one is donated by Wreaths Across America. They let people create fundraising groups, because they want to see this spread to as many cemeteries and they need it. Actually, Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts can actually sign up as a fundraising group, and they can make money.”
For more information about the Wreaths Across America programs in either West Unity or Montpelier, or information on how to sponsor a wreath, call Michael at 419-799-9048, or Tarry at 419-485-1678.
Timothy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org