A group of Oxford scouts is once again soliciting donations to fund the placement of fresh evergreen wreaths on the graves of veterans resting in local cemeteries.
Between now and Nov. 27, Boy Scout Troop 366 is asking folks to help sponsor the annual Wreaths Across America ceremony scheduled for noon Saturday, Dec. 16 at Ridgelawn Memorial Cemetery (99 W. Burdick St.) in Oxford Village.
Started in 1992, Wreaths Across America is a nationwide event consisting of coordinated wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and more than 1,100 other locations across the United States, at sea and abroad. The purpose is to remember fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve and teach children the value of freedom.
“These people have sacrificed for us and (this is) a small thing that we can do to give back and show how much we appreciate them,” said Kim Burean, service project coordinator for Troop 366.
To Burean, laying wreaths “not only honors those who have gone before us,” it “reassures living veterans and their families that they will never be forgotten.”
“Every veteran’s name is spoken aloud when a wreath is placed on their grave,” she said.
Troop 366’s goal is to collect enough money for 225 wreaths.
Each $15 sponsorship pays for one wreath made of live greenery, not plastic, to adorn a veteran’s grave.
For every person who gives $30 to sponsor two wreaths, Wreaths Across America will donate one wreath as part of a three-for-two special.
Burean explained folks can either sponsor a wreath to be placed on a veteran’s grave in Ridgelawn or sponsor one for a family member or friend buried in another Oxford cemetery.
All of the wreaths meant for Ridgelawn will be placed Dec. 16 by Troop 366 scouts.
However, it will be up to individual sponsors to place wreaths on graves in other cemeteries.
To Burean, the wreaths are an excellent way to show the community remembers, values and respects those who served in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
“We never want to forget our veterans,” she said. “They’ve sacrificed for us. They’ve made our country what it is. They’ve made it possible for us to be free. We need to constantly be reminded of that and pass that on to younger generations.”
Burean has two veterans in her family. Her father served in the Vietnam War aboard a U.S. Navy minesweeper, while her grandfather fought in World War II as a pilot for Great Britain’s Royal Air Force.
To sponsor a wreath or two, visit the Troop 366 Wreaths Across America website bit.ly/Troop366WAA and click the red button.
Or mail a check payable to “Troop 366” to Boy Scout Troop 366, c/o Oxford United Methodist Church, 21 E. Burdick St., Oxford, MI 48371.
The deadline for donations made by check is Nov. 21. On-line donations can be made until Nov. 27. All donations are tax-deductible.
In addition to seeking sponsorships, Troop 366 is also conducting a bottle-and-can drive to help pay for wreaths.
“We’re doing it on (Saturday) Nov. 18,” Burean said. “We’ll be going door-to-door in some different neighorhoods.”
“If anybody has cans or bottles they want to donate, they can always contact me and we would be happy to pick them up,” she added.
Burean’s phone number is (248) 894-0782.