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Volunteers to honor deceased veterans

Now all that’s needed are the volunteers. They’re to put out 955 fresh wreaths on the graves of those in the Soldiers Section in Woodland Cemetery at upcoming Wreaths Across America ceremony.

“We got enough money to buy a wreath for every grave there,” Juanita Southers, one of the event organizers, said.

At noon on Saturday volunteers will cover the graves with wreaths as similar ceremonies are going on across the country. Woodland will be one of 900 cemeteries participating in the national event to pay tribute to those who served and sacrificed for their country.

“It is patriotism and just massive generosity,” Southers said. “I think it shows what people can do. It has been the city and the county. I have even gotten donations from Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky.”

Now volunteers are needed to put out the wreaths following a special noon ceremony.

Southers and her friend, Linda Dalton, first participated in a Wreaths Across America service three years ago at Arlington National Cemetery. They were so moved and impressed with the event, they wanted to bring it to Ironton. In their inaugural year this past December they were able to raise enough money for 350 graves.

Saturday’s ceremony will feature remarks from Ironton attorney Scott Evans, a former member of the 216 Engineers Battalion, which will also be present at the cemetery. Each branch of the military will be honored and a bagpiper will close the service. Then will come the placing of the close to 1,000 wreaths.

“We will need all the volunteers we can get,” Southers said. “We also need volunteers to unload the wreaths.”

They are expected to be trucked to the cemetery between Wednesday and Friday. The wreaths will stay on the graves until the second Saturday in January.

“The whole county has come together and it shows the patriotism of this county,” Southers said. “There are so many good things happening in Ironton, so much thoughtfulness and compassion shown.”

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