BELPRE - For the fourth year, residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley are able to purchase a wreath to be placed at the graves of veterans through the Wreaths Across America program.
"We are proud to be part of this wonderful program to honor those who gave so much," said Dana Fouss, manager of the Leavitt Funeral Home in Belpre.
Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization that began placing wreaths on graves at Arlington National Cemetery in 1992 after the Worchester Wreath Co. of Harrington, Maine, had an excess of wreaths near the end of the holiday season, according to the organization. It became a nonprofit in 2007.
Photo by Jolene Craig
Leavitt Funeral Homes in Parkersburg and Belpre are participating in Wreaths Across America to put wreaths on the graves of veterans. Many of these wreaths were placed on the graves of many Revolutionary War.
The wreaths were so well received by the families of those buried at Arlington National Cemetery and the public, the company quietly continued to provide wreaths each year.
Wreaths Across America expanded to include 230 cemeteries around the world, including all 50 states and the deserts of Iraq, in 2006.
There will be ceremonies for their wreath-laying in more than 750 locations in the United States as well as offshore locations.
Jackie Cassidy with the Belpre facility said Leavitt is encouraging community members to purchase a wreath for $15 to be placed either at a grave of their choosing at home or another cemetery across the country.
Last year Leavitt Funeral Home sponsored more than 100 wreaths in the Mid-Ohio Valley with 15 of them having been placed on the graves of Revolutionary War soldiers and officers in Cedarville Cemetery, Belpre's oldest cemetery.
"We plan to place 25 or more wreaths at the Cedarville Cemetery this year," Cassidy said.
The cemetery, which is along the bank of the Ohio River, has graves that date between 1791 and 1897 and include some of the earliest settlers of the Belpre area, including Rufus Putnam's granddaughter and Capt. William Dana and his wife Mary Bancroft Dana.
While the Rotary will be putting wreaths on 10 graves, there were originally 16 Revolutionary War veterans buried in the cemetery but several were moved throughout the years to keep them from being washed away by flood waters.
The purchase of a wreath goes to help fund veteran and educational outreach programs, according to Wreaths Across America.
This program is all volunteer as far as the cost per wreath, shipping and placing of the wreaths.
Those wanting to be a local sponsor can get wreaths at Leavitt in Parkersburg and Belpre and place it themselves.
For more information, contact Leavitt at 304-422-6459 or (740) 423-6326.