Wreath preparation event honors late Central Texas area veterans

Published: Nov. 18, 2023 at 6:30 PM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - More than 1,000 volunteers spent their Saturday morning preparing wreaths that will later be distributed to gravestones that belong to veterans.

The volunteers fluffed the wreaths, added bows and loaded them up on trucks. The event, put on by the Friends of the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, started at 10 in the morning, but by noon all of the volunteers had already finished the work.

”We purposely want it to be accessible for folks and make them feel like they’re doing something meaningful in the community,” Hilary Shine with the Friends of the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery said.

Thanks to volunteers, 15,000 wreaths are now ready to be put in front of all of the gravestones at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery.

It was all made possible through help from groups like Harker Heights High School students and the Boys and Girls Club of Central Texas.

”We divided into two teams, one which will fluff them and one which will put bows on them, so I was leader of the fluff team and Amara here was leader of the bows,” Olwin Hernandez with the Boys and Girls Club of Central Texas said.

The annual event has been going strong since 2005. Clarice Swimpson volunteered for the first time at the event with her organization Women Army Corps Veterans Association Genevieve Chapter 94.

The Army veteran has several friends and family members who are buried at the veterans cemetery and said that just makes the work that much more important.

”Once you’re a vet or been in the military you’re always connected and always united,” Swimpson said. “That’s one of our sayings, ‘we’re united together. We’re always better together.’”

All of the wreaths will be laid out in front of the graves at the cemetery next Saturday at 10 a.m.