Killeen: Hundreds help prepare wreaths for veterans cemetery

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Hundreds of Central Texans filled the Killeen Special Events Center on Saturday to say thanks to the many men and women who gave their life to protect our freedoms.

The volunteers helped prepare and sort the thousands of wreaths that will be placed on gravesites next Saturday at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery.

“Our community comes together to pay the ultimate and the respect to the soldiers buried out at the cemetery," Naomi Roupe said.

Roupe, a Gold Star representative for Wreaths for Vets, says this year the group is expecting over 8,000 gravesites that will need to be filled. Volunteers help make the process a lot easier.

Included in the hundreds of volunteers were those who have also served in the military.

“There is no better feeling because you’ve worked with these people, served with these people, deployed with them, I love it," Army veteran Angie Wilson said.

Sylvia Gavin, who also retired from the Army, says the ceremony will allow her to give back.

“As they say, some gave some, some gave it all. We want to be able to give back to those. We also encounter the families that are there. We are able to give them a nice big hug and say ‘we are still with you’ and give them a smile and help them carry on for the rest of the year," Gavin said.

From adults to children, every age group was represented inside the events center.

Alijah Villarreal, 10, says that he had fun being able to sort the wreaths.

"What are you going to tell your friends, your classmates?" News 10's Brandon Hamilton asked.

“I’m going to tell them that I put wreaths over all the gravestones and if next year they can do it, then we can all have a part," Alijah answered.

The annual wreath laying ceremony will start at 10 a.m. on Nov. 24. Volunteers are needed to help disperse wreaths at the cemetery.

For those attending, you are asked to park at Texas A&M Central Texas and catch shuttle buses.

Officials say buses will run from 8 a.m. to noon.