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Inaugural Wreaths Across America went well with hopes of expanding in 2020

Inaugural Wreaths Across America went well with hopes of expanding in 2020

JOHN THOMASON, left, coordinator of Cleveland’s first-ever Wreaths Across America program at the Bradley County Veterans Cemetery on Dec. 14, places one of the wreaths celebrating different branches of the U.S. military. State Sen. Todd Gardenhire stands at right. Thomason and other volunteers are hoping to expand the program in 2020, to recognize more of the community’s deceased veterans. Cleveland’s inaugural Wreaths Across America program earlier this month was such a success that organizers are already planning to expand it next year. This was Cleveland’s first year being affiliated with the national program, and probably none of the other 2,000 cemeteries associated with the nonprofit can boast of a better effort in recognizing their community’s deceased veterans. The local program, coordinated by John Thomason, not only reached its goal of $3,900 for the purchase of 280 wreaths, it far exceeded that goal. Cleveland’s William K. Norwood Wreaths Across America initiative purchased more than 440 wreaths, and was able to contribute 147 of those to Wreaths Across America at the National Cemetery in Chattanooga. On Dec. 14, 2020, the local program hopes to expand the effort and recognize even more of Bradley County’s deceased veterans. Thomason said the plan is to provide an opportunity for individuals, families and others to purchase a wreath, or wreaths, to place on the gravesites of Bradley County veterans who are not buried in the veterans section of Fort Hill Cemetery. Those interested can contact Thomason at 423-716-4890 to purchase and reserve wreaths. They would then be able to attend the Dec. 14, 2020, ceremony at the Veterans Cemetery, pick up their wreaths and place them on the gravesite of their choice in any public or private cemetery. Thomason, and other volunteers, will make a list of purchases, which will be added to Cleveland’s total […]

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