MEIGS COUNTY — Saturday, December 18, is National Wreaths Across America Day. On that day, thousands of wreaths will be laid on veteran’s graves across the United States and its territories.
The laying of wreaths to honor veterans had its beginnings in Arlington National Cemetery. Now a nationwide effort, the mission of Wreaths Across America is to Remember, Honor, and Teach, and is completely funded by donations.
After organizing nine trips with people from around the Ohio Valley to lay wreaths in Washington D.C., Craig Matheny decided to develop a program locally. The result was the establishment of Wreath Adventures, LLC.
Wreath Adventures allows donations that would typically be donated to the Wreaths Across American project at large to go directly to purchase wreaths for local cemeteries.
“I wanted to keep the donations made by our communities local, and in order to do that, I established the nonprofit Wreath Adventures,” Matheny explained. “I began the project in Athens County in 2019, and expanded to Meigs in 2020.”
In 2020, the group placed 1,000 wreaths in Athens and Meigs cemeteries. Matheny said the goal set for 2021 to place over 2,000 has been met.
“Each year we want to continue to expand the program,” he said. “Morgan County has joined, and other counties are invited to join as well.”
Matheny said he felt called to bring the program to Athens and Meigs, and said that God works in mysterious ways. As soon as the program was announced, individuals, youth and community organizations, businesses, churches, and veterans groups members all reached out to Wreath Adventures with their time and donations.
“When I decided to bring the program to our local communities, doors just opened,” he said. “It not only takes money to purchase the wreaths, it requires volunteers to place them. People and organizations immediately began coming forward when they learned of the program, the response was amazing.”
Once a cemetery is designated, every veteran’s grave in that location receives a wreath. In 2020, the Wreath Adventures program placed wreaths in Meigs County at Reedsville Cemetery, Eden/Randolph Cemetery, Tuppers Plains Cemetery, and Meigs Memory Gardens. This year wreaths will also be placed in Letart, Miles, Gilmore, Heiney, and Chester cemeteries.
Each wreath costs $15 and are funded through donations. Wreaths for next year can be ordered at a buy one get one free promotion until Jan. 10, 2022. While donations are accepted all year, Matheny encouraged ordering by the Jan. 10 deadline, as donations would go twice as far toward the project.
Donations can be made by mailing a donation to Wreath Adventures LLC, 504 Four Mile Creek Road Coolville, Ohio 45723, or by using PayPal.
For more on Wreath Adventures find them on Facebook, visit their website: wreathadventures.org, or contact Craig Matheny at 740-667-3513.
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Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.