What began as a New Horizons capstone project grew into a community-wide event. With a seemingly high goal of sponsoring 200 wreaths for the veterans buried at Historic Pecan Grove Cemetery located in McKinney, Texas, the John Abston Chapter, NSDAR surpassed that goal by sponsoring 31 percent of the total wreaths placed at the cemetery. Chapter members participated in three events tied to Wreaths Across America Day, which took place on Dec. 16, 2017. The first event was to place a small flag next to the headstone of all 837 veterans, the next was the actual wreath laying on Wreaths Across America Day and the final was the removal of the wreaths.
To ensure the success of all three events, it became apparent that more volunteers were needed than the chapter could provide. Contact was made with the chapter’s Public Relations and Media committee to increase community awareness and involvement in this growing endeavor. Press releases were prepared for our local community newspapers and MeKinney Online for each event. Event notices were posted on the John Abston Chapter, NSDAR public Facebook page, Instagram and shared by chapter members. Articles about the event were included in the Daughters Dispatch, the chapter’s monthly newsletter, and announcements and progress reports were made at chapter meetings.
The result of these efforts increased the number of volunteers for the gravesite flagging day from one family last year to over 60 volunteers this year, for the wreath removal day from just the Civil Air Patrol cadets last year to about 50 volunteers and on Wreaths Across America Day more than 300 volunteers participated, which was three times the number in 2016. The volunteers included not only the Civil Air Patrol and John Abston Chapter members and families, but also community leaders, a DAR member and her family from another chapter, local CAR members and American Heritage Girl members, Boy Scouts, and many community members and their families.
New friendships were made and others were deepened as each event passed. Through it all, an increased level of respect for those who served this country was gained by all. Each veteran was remembered and honored with a wreath, a thank you and the saying of their name. Many children, the future of the United States of America, were taught a very important lesson.
Remember, Honor, Teach.