BOCC awards grant for veterans’ wreaths

SAGUACHE — The Saguache County BOCC recently awarded money to Wreaths Across America in the second cycle of its sales tax grants, a cause promoted throughout the Valley by Carol Martinez.

Saguache County Treasurer Connie Trujillo and veteran Gene Gowens wrote the grant for the wreaths.

“It would be an honor to have any fallen buried veterans in Saguache County have a wreath laid for Christmas,” Trujillo commented in an email Monday. Family members of any fallen veteran buried in any Saguache County cemetery who would like a wreath to place can contact Trujillo at 719-655-2371. If leaving a message, please leave a name, telephone number, and the veteran’s name. 

The deadline for ordering the wreaths is Monday, Nov. 9 at 1 p.m. Wreaths will be delivered to Saguache County Courthouse for delivery by the second week of December. A more precise delivery date will be posted as it becomes available.

History of veteran wreaths

Wreaths Across America was established as a non-profit organization, an extension of the Arlington Wreath project in which began in1992. The project was started by Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company, and that year 5,000 wreaths were laid at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C.

Wreaths Across America was born when a photo of snow-covered wreaths at Arlington went viral on the Internet. People nationwide were requesting wreaths, but Worcester was only able to donate seven wreaths to each state wanting them for their cemeteries. The wreaths were escorted to the states by the Patriot Guard Riders for simultaneous wreath-laying ceremonies.

This annual trek was the start of the yearly Veterans Honor Parade.

By 2007, the requests for wreaths had grown phenomenally, and the Wreaths Across America organization was established. By 2008, over 100,000 wreaths were placed on veteran’s graves in 300 locations, including overseas and Puerto Rico. Some 60,000 volunteers participated in the distribution process.

Eventually the second Saturday in December was voted by the U.S. Congress as “Wreaths Across America Day.” This year the wreath-laying will be held on Dec. 16.

Caption: Commissioner Ken Anderson, Commissioner Chairman Tim Lovato and Commissioner Jason Anderson present Wreaths Across America local project coordinator Carol Martinez, center, and Gene Gowens, far left, with a $5,000 check to fund Christmas wreaths for Saguache County and Valley veterans. Photo by Teresa L. Benns