- October 13, 2021
Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, the mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and at more than 2,100 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states at sea and abroad. The local Central Pennsylvania Chapter of Wreaths Across America is hard at work
Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, the mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and at more than 2,100 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states at sea and abroad. The local Central Pennsylvania Chapter of Wreaths Across America is hard at work gathering the money to place wreaths on veterans’ graves on cemeteries throughout Lycoming County to observe Wreaths Across America Day on December 18 this year.
Dori Rankinen, an active member of the Central Pennsylvania Wreaths Across America, is fond of citing this quote, “A person dies twice. Once when their body takes its last breath and then again when there is no one left to say their name or tell their story.” She said that The Central PA WAA consortium came together through a shared dream of 18 people to expand the Wreaths Across America mission of laying a veteran’s wreath on as many military graves as possible on December 18. This group is comprised of community members from Jersey Shore, Williamsport, Montoursville, Montgomery, and Hughesville. Each community wished to have cemeteries in their area participate in the WAA mission. She said the formation of the Central PA WAA was an exciting adventure. It’s a group of 25 dedicated members from several communities who all share the same passion for the WAA mission.
“A huge push is underway to gather the funds necessary to make this plan happen. Each wreath is $15. There are opportunities for small businesses to support the program with a $195 donation that sponsors 13 wreaths, Rankinen told Webb Weekly. “In talking with Jim Webb of Webb Weekly, he came up with the idea of the 13 wreaths coinciding with the 13 original colonies. Thus, the Central PA Business Patriot Team was born. We also have a corporate donation of $1,500 that sponsors 100 wreaths. The name of the group at this level is The Founding Fathers Team. Each business receives recognition through our Facebook page, which is shared to 7,000 individuals with our combined network.”
She said the following cemeteries are already involved in the effort, some with wreaths already sponsored. Pine Creek, with wreaths sponsored by Daughters of the American Revolution Jersey Shore, Antes Fort, Jersey Shore, Freedom Road, wreaths sponsored by Ivy Lodge Masonic Lodge, Williamsport Cemetery (Washington Blvd.), Montoursville, Fairview in Montgomery, wreaths sponsored by American Legion Bower Decker Post 251 & Auxiliary, and Pleasant Hills in Hughesville.
More cemeteries are expected to be added, and hopefully more sponsorships as well.
“Our next BIG fundraising event will be a raffle of the following items: a set of patriot cornhole boards from Shaner’s Custom Woodworking. A metal art piece from Miller Mt. Enterprises, A shadow box for flag display, handcrafted by Frank Hartzel,” Rankinen said. “All of the prizes are absolutely amazing! Each artisan is local. In addition to the raffle, Shaner’s Woodworking has partnered with Central PA WAA to support our mission by donating 10 percent to our cause whenever someone places an order for game boards and mentions our group’s name!”
Tickets can be purchased by contacting our FB page or attending the Lycoming Co. Balloonfest or the 911 Coalition gathering at Clinton Twp. Firehall. Both events are scheduled for September 11. The drawing will be held on Veteran’s Day (November 11) winners will be notified. Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20.
According to Rankinen, the best way to learn more about the Central PA WAA is to LIKE their page on Facebook. They frequently update with their coming events, and you can find a poster with a QR code to sponsor wreaths, or if you are old school, they also have a downloadable form for sponsorship as well.
“It’s important for the community to consider sponsoring a wreath (or several) to help us cover as many military graves as possible. Every donation helps! Rankinen concluded.