By Alice E. Gerard
For a number of years, a few older veterans got together annually to place wreaths at the graves of veterans at Oakland Rural Cemetery in Youngstown. Normally, they place approximately 30 wreaths at the graves, as part of Wreaths Across America. The project was started in 1992 by Morrill Worcester, the owner of Worcester Wreath Co. of Harrington, Maine. Worcester had a surplus of wreaths left over after the holiday season, so he decided to place the wreaths at the graves of veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.
The wreath-laying project grew into the Wreaths Across America, with 2.4 million wreaths being laid at 3,164 sites across the country at the graves of veterans this year.
On Dec. 18, the veterans who laid the wreaths at Oakland Rural Cemetery were surprised when a group of young people, members of the Journey to Adulthood group at Saint Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church, along with adult leaders, brought with them 110 wreaths that had been sponsored by church members.
“They didn’t expect us,” said the Rev. Nicholas Evancho, priest-in-charge at St. Martin’s. “We made a relationship with them (the veterans), and we will do this annually.”
He added, “This was a wonderful opportunity to benefit St. Martin’s and Wreaths Across America. It worked out really well.”