Members of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 803 spearheaded cleanup of the more than 4,300 wreaths placed at Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira, N.Y., during the holidays as part of the annual Wreaths Across America observance. The cleanup event attracted participants from throughout the community on Jan. 19.
“It is a tedious job to come back here and throw them into hoppers,” chapter President Larry Sherman told WENY-TV. “But it’s good for your heart to clean this place up and get it back to the way it’s supposed to look.”
“I was amazed at this year’s turnout,” volunteer Nicholas Paluszkiewicz told WETM-TV. “Usually, it’s 30 or 40 people who pick it up. I thank the lord every day that people put it in their heart to show up. This is community — that’s what it’s about.”
The goal is to decorate the more than 7,000 military graves at Woodlawn with holiday wreaths every year. “I think they’re starting to catch on to what it means for those of us who have served to come here and pay respects to those us who haven’t made it back safe and sound,” veteran Chuck Miller said.